Second Sunday before Advent - Church at Home

15th November 2020

Weekly notices & Church at Home

(Scroll down for this week's service)

Andy Warhol, $9 (on black), 1982

Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

During times of lockdown we cannot meet together in person. But you can watch the service live on Facebook!

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And follow the service booklet here >

در هنگام خطبه روز یکشنبه هدفون های خود را بگذارید و به این ترجمه گوش دهید.

یا در خانه گوش دهید.

< خطبه / Readings & Sermon in Farsi

< متن خطبه

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We will also livestream a service every Sunday morning along with our pre-recorded podcast.

Foodbank will continue as normal at the Venerable bede and St James'.

St James' is open for private prayer every Wednesday 10am - 1pm.

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Church of England prayer for the nation - 6pm every day

Find all the info here >

The Church of England has called on us all to unite as a nation in prayer every day at 6pm using the following prayer topics:

  1. Sunday - family, friends, and loved ones.

  2. Monday - Schools, colleges, kids and young people.

  3. Tuesday - The elderly, the isolated, and vulnerable.

  4. Wednesday - Businesses, workplaces, and the economic well being of all

  5. Thursday - NHS and other key workers.

  6. Friday - national and local government.

  7. Saturday - the grieving, suffering and unwell.

Cornerstone - takeaway cafe and hot food deliveries

Our friends at Cornerstone Benwell on Wednesdays and Thursdays are offering:

  • Take-away service for beverages and sandwiches.

  • Hot meal home delivery service from 11.30am. Main course £3.00 and/or dessert £1.00.

Phone Cornerstone before 10am on those days and Amy will take your order.

0191 2260941

Armstrong road, NE4 7TU

Find all the info here >


Second Sunday before Advent

Reflection by The Revd Dominic Coad

Service led by The Revd David Kirkwood

Watch here at 10.30am >

or listen and read along here:

مراسم کامل با قرائت و خطبه به زبان فارسی

The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge the presence of God.

Intro music

First Loss by Robert Schumann.

Opening prayer

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


Let us confess to God the sins and shortcomings of the world: its pride, its selfishness, its greed; its evil divisions and hatreds. Let us confess our share in what is wrong,

and our failure to seek and to establish that peace which God wills for all his children.

Lord, you are gracious and compassionate: Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.) You are loving to all and your mercy is over all your creation: Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy.) Your faithful servants bless your name and speak of the glory of your kingdom: Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)

May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


Heavenly Lord,

you long for the world’s salvation:

stir us from apathy,

restrain us from excess

and revive in us new hope

that all creation will one day be healed

in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Thessalonians.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

(1 Thessalonians 5.1–11)

This is the word of the Lord

(Thanks be to God).


Alleluia, alleluia.

Stay awake, praying at all times

for the strength to stand with confidence before the Son of man.


Hear the Gospel of our lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

(Glory to you O Lord)

‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

(Matthew 25.1–13)

This is the gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)


by The Revd Dominic Coad

This morning’s Gospel reading is the last of a block of three stories Jesus told about being ready. We heard the previous story last week, the parable of the ten bridesmaids in which five bridesmaids fail to have enough oil for their lamps so that when the bridegroom comes they are not ready to meet him and get shut out of the wedding feast. This week we carry straight on in Matthew with the parable of the talents.

A man entrusts three slaves with his wealth and goes on a long journey. The wealth he gives is in the form of talents, five to the first slave, two to the second and one to the third. We don’t know exactly how much a talent was worth but we do know that it was a great deal of money. Whether given one talent or five, the slaves had all been entrusted with a very significant responsibility. What would they each do with it and what would the man find upon his return?

The first two slaves worked hard to grow the wealth they had been given but the third buried it in the ground, ensuring that nothing would be lost but also that nothing would be gained. When the man returns he is angry with the third slave and condemns him, despite the slaves attempts to tell him that he is a hard man and that he, the slave, was afraid of what would happen if he lost the money.

We may well feel this is rather unfair, the third slave hadn’t done anything wrong, he’d just done nothing at all. In the same way, last Sunday, the five foolish bridesmaids paid a high price for forgetting to bring extra lamp oil, being shut out of the feast. Why do Jesus’ stories seem to be so unforgiving of these characters who haven’t prepared themselves properly?

There are many places in the Bible that speak of a day of coming destruction and judgment. One of those is our reading this morning from 1 Thessalonians: ‘the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’ then sudden destruction will come upon them.’ So too, the Old Testament reading set for this Sunday, from Zephaniah, says: ‘The great day of the Lord is near, that day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish.’

Why does the Bible contain such terrifying apocalyptic imagery? Surely God doesn’t want us to be afraid for the future? Well, I think it’s helpful to understand these passages not as telling us why terrible things happen, but describing what it feels like when they do. We all experience terrible events that come upon us suddenly, as if from nowhere. Like Job, we wonder why such things seem to be visited upon us from heaven. The Bible would do us no favours if it wasn’t honest about that part of human experience.

But we also all have the experience of things going wrong and knowing it’s our fault. I’m sure there are none of us who can’t look back at our lives and remember something we would dearly love to change. Something we did and regret that had real consequences for us and for others. Sometimes we ourselves are the agents of our own chaos.

God knows about all of those things, he sees every part of us, and one day we will all stand before him, our whole lives an open book. Given this, the harsh treatment of the third slave might worry us but we need to understand that the story is supposed to help us to think about all of life, of death and the end of things. We all make mistakes, we all fail to use what God has given us to its full potential but the third slave did nothing at all, he made no attempt to grow what he was given, to do good for himself or his community.

If we were to be like that slave, if we were to take all the good things God has given us and try to hide them away, then we too would fail him. The riches that God gives us are there to be used and shared. When the end comes for us God will want to know that we have done something with our allotment. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, it doesn’t have to be successful even, but it needs to be something.

The good news is that we are, all of us, doing something. Never has this been more evident than in this time of pandemic. All across our church family, I see people giving of themselves, of their resources, their time, their kindness, reaching out to others, participating in church.

When the Day of the Lord comes for each of us, sooner or later, we will stand before God and none of us will have led perfect lives, or have made everything we could of what God gave us. But we need not fear being judged like that worthless slave; God sees us as we truly are and loves us. He sees our sin, of course, but for that we have Jesus who died to save us. He also sees all the ways we have been fruitful, all the ways in which we have done good with what he gave us, and to that he says, ‘well done good and trustworthy servant, enter into the joy of your master.’


Prayer intentions


Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Jesus our exalted Lord has been given all authority. Let us seek his intercession, that our prayers may be perfected by his prayer.

Jesus Christ, great high priest, living for ever to intercede for us: pray for your Church, your broken body in the world...

  • Our Bishops Christine and Mark, Area Dean Christine, all called to lead and guide the church,

  • those affected by abuse in the church and those tasked with responding.

Jesus Christ, King of righteousness, enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high: pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule …

  • Pray for peace and all affected by conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ethiopia.

In this new period of lockdown we pray for:

  • Those facing uncertain futures and loss of work or income.

  • Victims of bullying and domestic violence

  • The health service. Giving thanks for scientific and medical research and all involved in development of new vaccines and treatments

  • Refugees and asylum seekers.

We pray for The Sick & Suffering

  • All who have asked for our prayers

  • Herbert Agbeko

  • The Riches family

  • Linda, Stuart, and their son David

  • Dee Humphrey

  • Claire Mozaffari

  • Eric Harling

  • All affected by Covid19

We pray for the dying and those who have died and those who love them we remember especially

  • Ron Hume

  • Carol Wolstenholme

  • All victims of Covid 19.

Jesus Christ, Lord of all things, ascended far above from the heavens and filling the universe: pray for us that we may receive the gifts you give us for work in your service, keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, until you bring the whole created order to worship at your feet; for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Merciful Father accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Saviour


Lord's Prayer

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,

as our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.


Listen to the music here >

Christ is the King! O friends, rejoice; brothers and sisters, with one voice let the world know he is your choice. Alleluia. Oh magnify the Lord, and raise anthems of joy and holy praise for Christ's brave saints of ancient days. Alleluia. They with a faith forever new followed the King, and round him drew thousands of faithful servants true. Alleluia. O Christian women, Christian men, all the world over, seek again the way disciples followed then. Alleluia. Christ through all ages is the same: place the same hope in his great name, with the same faith his word proclaim. Alleluia. Let love's unconquerable might your scattered companies unite in service to the Lord of light. Alleluia. So shall God's will on earth be done, new lamps be lit, new tasks begun, and the whole church at last be one. Alleluia.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore. Amen

Outro music

Valtz-Scherzo by Cécile Chaminade.