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Newsletter - Trinity Sunday


Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 26 May

9.30am - Holy Communion at St John's

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

4pm - Evening prayer at St Margaret's

Thurs 30 May

10.30am - Corpus Christi communion service at Ven Bede


Dates for your Diary

Sat 8 June

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

Sat 3 Aug

Benstock Festival



Our annual report

Annual report 2024 Benwell and Scotswood Team Parish
Download PDF • 8.00MB

Financial report Benwell Scotswood 2023 accounts signed
Download PDF • 250KB

This year we have tried to fill our report with lots of useful information about everything that goes on in the parish, please download it and have a read.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the annual meeting. We elected our churchwardens and reps, approved our annual accounts, renewed our safeguarding and other policies. We also celebrated all that had gone on in the last year and looked forward to what the next year will bring.


David announces his retirement

After 8 years with us and 40 years of ministry, the Revd David Kirkwood has announced he will be retiring as Team Rector in August.

Please pray for him and Elspeth as they prepare for this next chapter in their lives. They will be missed, but we are thankful for his faithful leadership that has leaves the parish in such a positive and exciting place. David's final service will be in the afternoon of Sunday 11th August. More details will follow, but please save the date.

We will begin the process of appointing a new rector in the following months, please pray for Revd Chris as he continues as Team Vicar for Mission.


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


No Lunch Break, Art Club, or writing group during half-term

Please note, for half-term (27-31 May) at St James there will be no Lunch Break or writing session on Tuesday or Art Club on Tuesday and Thursday.

Pathways will still run on Wednesday and the cafe will be open on Monday.


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 26th May 2024

Trinity Sunday



Almighty and everlasting God,

you have given us your servants grace,

by the confession of a true faith,

to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity

and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:

keep us steadfast in this faith,

that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;

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.


Holy God,

faithful and unchanging:

enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,

and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Isaiah 6.1–8

6In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:

  ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

  the whole earth is full of his glory.’

4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.


Romans 8.12–17


 12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.


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 3.1–17

3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Almighty and eternal God,

you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:

hold us firm in this faith,

that we may know you in all your ways

and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,

who are three Persons yet one God,

now and for ever.


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

  • Linda Deprato and family

  • Nelly

  • Irene Scaife

Rest in peace

  • Maria Hale

  • David Veitch


  • Luca-Stephen Totoli


  • 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.

Daniel's Testimony

Daniel has asked to share his story of faith with the community at the Hub service this week. Here it is to read:

My name is Daniel. I had just moved to Newcastle and I didn't have a church to go to when I met Chris outside the Venerable Bede. I had first gone to church when I was 19, but I moved around a lot and it was not until I was about 40 that I really started believing in God.

I knew God was around, but one church I went to before  I did not like the way the pastor preached about some things. But when I came to this church  it made me feel at home and I have come along every Sunday since.

I have praised God many times for bringing me to church. I now do lots for God,   I’m a server, and I help people a lot and welcome them. God has changed me. I’m not doing bad things like I used to. I used to steal things from shops. But becoming a Christian helped me because I know God doesn’t like people stealing.

I was baptised and confirmed in St James two years ago. I like myself more because I can help other people by showing them what I am like. God healed me when I was sick and I know that God says there will be no death and no pain.  Knowing God, means giving your life to God.


There is a message here for people, if they don’t know God, they should get to know him, through prayer and talking to Chris and David if they want help.

In John chapter 14 it says: do not trouble your heart, my father’s house has many rooms.  This means a lot to me, because he’s preparing a place for me and for you, for everyone. A home for us all. It makes me feel happy to know that.  In the passage Thomas says to Jesus 'we don’t know the way',  and Jesus says 'I am the way and the truth and the life'.  If someone doesn’t know the way, knowing Jesus is the most important thing, because we might not know the path, but we know who we’re traveling with.



Revd Chris

‘In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’. This is how we always begin Sunday worship and our sermons. And it probably doesn’t bode well for the church, and my sermons, when we start off with something so incomprehensible as the doctrine of the Trinity.


Today is Trinity Sunday, when we dedicate a whole Sunday to this central defining feature of Christianity. After this it is the beginning of ‘ordinary time’ in the church and the many upcoming Sundays will be called the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (etc.)… Sunday after Trinity. The trinity is so deeply mysterious that we need at least 21 Sundays afterwards to make sense of it.


Yet the trinity is never mentioned in the bible. Or rather, it is never named. You may sometimes wonder why we read out a long list of beliefs on Sundays that make up the creed. Well, the creed was written to make sense of what Christians were reading in scripture, and the experience they of God which they knew to be true but did not have the words to explain it: how God has revealed himself in the form of Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet claims to be one God.   


The creed was honed through extremely nuanced, and extremely heated debate. It represents the hard-won discernment of the church community up until the 4th century, after gathering for many councils and many arguments to set out what it actually believes, and to also make clear what it does not believe. It has become a defining document of what makes Christianity distinct, which is why we still read it in church today despite it not being scriptural.


In the process of writing the creed, and in the centuries since, there have so many allegories and metaphors to help us understand the idea of trinity, but the trinity by its very nature can never be contained or fully explained by these metaphors. If it could be, then it would be pointless. Jesus hints at this incomprehensibility in the Gospels, when he describes God’s spirit:

"The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."


We know the trinity, we know God, by God’s movement. We don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. But we know it in our very being, in being created in the sacrificial love of Christ, and in one another. It is so hard to describe because it is everything that we are and everything that continues to make and shape us. It is the most complicated of all things, but also the simplest thing that we know – we are called into existence by it. We know nothing except the trinity because we live, we are loved, and we love.


It is strange that we have fought so hard over the technicalities of the language, when it only in wordless contemplation and experience that we can ever grasp this mystery. In the trinity God is revealing Godself to be so much more than anything we know and drawing us into an eternal lesson in love.


Whatever the trinity is, it is about God making Godself known. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the declaration of God to the world that we are loved. God has reaches out to us in redemption, in renewal, in relationship.

The trinity is a story still being written of how God creates us for a loving relationship. How God loves us so much he steps into the world to know us, to die for us and to call us into his eternal life. It is the story of how God’s Holy Spirit abides in us, guides us, and is revealed in love for one another.


No, we won't fully understand it. The words we use to describe the Trinity are just a sketch of the thing itself - think of the words as the horizon, which indicates a world beyond but is unfathomable from where we are. The trinity is a truth we have discerned from what we have in the bible and Christian tradition, but it is just our jumping off point. The trinity must be mysterious or it is false.


The one God steps into our world and remains with us in spirit. We are drawn into relationship with God, not just as the recipients of God’s love, but as the enactors of it. To contemplate the love of God is not just to spiral into our own inner depths of self-love. But to go beyond ourselves, to partake in God’s love and to love one another in this world, for us to be re-made in the image of God.


In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.


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