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St James' & St Margaret's Day - Church at Home

26th July 2020

Weekly notices, Church at Home & watch live

(Scroll down for this week's service)

Francisco de Zurbarán, St Margaret of Antioch, 1631, Oil on canvas; National Gallery, London


Sunday, 10.30am at St James'

We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team. Let us know you're coming if you can!


Still at home? Watch the service live on Facebook! (don't worry - you do not need a facebook account to watch it)


Weekly resources from 'Roots' for families to use to reflect on the Bible readings each week.



Online worship - let us know what you think!

We want to know what's been working for you with online services over the last few months and how to keep them going post-lockdown. We have a very short (anonymous) survey, so please fill it out.


Face coverings - update!

It is now recommended that we wear face masks in church and other enclosed public spaces. We encourage you to wear one as it will help limit the spread of the virus. But if you cannot wear one we won't be asking you why and you should not let it stop you coming to church.

You do not have to wear one if you cannot because of a health condition or it will cause you severe distress, and children under 11 do not have to wear one either.

The clergy will wear a mask during the distribution of communion. Please remember the most effective way to stay safe is to remain 2 metres apart, wash or sanitise your hands regularly, and stay at home if you feel unwell.


Cranes for Peace

Help us make 75 origami cranes to mark 75 years

since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to support CND's campaign for peace.

You can make them at home, we have some simple instructions to follow and we hope to make a display at St James' when they are all finished.


St James' & St Margaret's Day

Two of our churches patron saints had their festivals this last week - St James' the Apostle and St Margaret of Antioch. So this Sunday we are celebrating both.

We haven't forgotten our other churches though! We intend to celebrate St John's 200th birthday once we return to the building. And we missed Venerable Bede's day because of lockdown, so we will make sure to celebrate with extra style when it comes round again!


Congratulations to Abi!

Our Pastoral Assistant Abigail has been recommended to train for ordination from September! She has spent the last couple of years discerning her vocation with us and intends to train at Westcott House in Cambridge over the next 3 years. This Sunday will be her last official service working for us, and we're sad she'll be leaving us but we are very proud of her.


Phyllis Pullar

We are very sorry to announce that our dear friend and sister, Phyllis, died this last week. She had been a faithful member of St James' for many years. She died peacefully at home surrounded by her family. She will be greatly missed.


You can now submit prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregation will pray for you each week.


Help keep our work going and our buildings open.

If you can, please give by standing order - regular donations help us to have a better estimate of our income and ensure we can keep our activities running.



St James' & St Margaret's Day

Reflection by Abigail Harris

Online service and president at Communion: The Revd Chris Minchin

or listen and read along here:

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

Intro music

Ivan Sings by Aram Khatchaturian

Opening prayer

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


We run the race set before us,

surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

Therefore let us lay aside every weight,

and the sin which clings so closely,

bringing them to Jesus in penitence and faith.

You were sent to preach the good news of light

in the darkness of the world:

Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)

You were sent to plant in our hearts the seed of eternal life:

Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy.)

You were sent to reconcile us to yourself

by the shedding of your blood:

Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)

May the Father forgive us

by the death of his Son

and strengthen us

to live in the power of the Spirit

all our days. Amen.


Almighty God,

who built your Church upon the foundation

of the apostles and prophets,

with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone:

so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine,

that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you;

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. Amen.


A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.

(Acts 11.27 – 12.2)

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God


Alleluia, alleluia.

I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.


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

Glory to you O Lord

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

(Matthew 20.20–28)

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ!


by Abigail Harris

So, may I speak and may we all hear in the name of God; Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I must say how happy I am for us to be able to gather here together in the Church building. Whether you’re here in flesh or joining us online; you are all welcome. You are part of us, we are part of you; we are one body, surrounded and held by these prayer-soaked walls.

Today I am preaching for the last time. I’m grateful to everyone in the parish for how welcoming you’ve been and just to embarrass him a special thanks to Rev.David for being the best incumbent I could have ever had…you can take it from me he has the patience of a Saint! I’m pleased to share with you all that having recently attended the Bishops Advisory Panel, I have been recommended to start training! There will always be a Benwell and Scotswood shaped hole in my heart…despite the natural feeling of loss I am grateful for the fact that we are indeed much more than a small team parish in the inner city of Newcastle; we’re a family.

Today we are also celebrating our patronal festival! For those of you who follow the liturgical calendar closely you will have noticed that we celebrated St. Margaret on Monday and St. James has been transferred from yesterday to today.

Yesterday following on from LYCiG; our mission action planning group met online to discuss the future ministry of our churches, and where the current pandemic has left us in understanding our now more permeable boundaries. We were able to question the role our Churches play in the wider society and if we feel differently in our relationship with our church buildings than we might have before.

However, this morning I guess my question to you is what exactly does it mean for us to be a community named after the apostle James?

James as we’ve seen in the Gospels is one of the 3 apostles in Jesus’ innermost circle, one of the chosen ones to witness the transfiguration among countless other miracles. The name James itself means supplanter; the one to supersede or take the place of and so here we see him misinterpreting what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He is someone well-loved and whilst he is someone who wants to be better and who also wants more from the world, he’s also slightly arrogant maybe, argumentative, passionate, often heated, not afraid of answering difficult questions, someone who doesn’t always get things right. He’s also someone on a journey, with a zealous approach to preaching the Gospel someone who cares and wants to be deeply understood and treasured by God.

We are James and he is representative of our community; our community in a broken society, filled with broken people and families, struggling and often divided, perfectly imperfect, beautifully broken and yet made whole.

We are James, standing on the edge of a broken world, during this life changing pandemic; beginning to grieve what we have lost, sceptical but also filled with hope; the flame of faith still quietly burning where no amount of darkness can bury the light.

We are James. We are representative of a diverse Gospel; one of colour, a rainbow Gospel, precious in the eyes of god.

Our Gospel is made up of ‘many different people. We have mortgages and houses or pretty much the clothes we stand up in, we have papers and passports, we are also stateless and far from our homes. We are brave, we are afraid, we’re so hopeful for the future. We sometimes despair too of our own stubborn refusal to change.’

‘We work too hard sometimes, or get bored of the work that we have or feel desperate to have some work to do. We worry about money and rent; we dream of a better life and sometimes we’re afraid of getting old and sometimes we’re afraid to die.’

‘We are gay, we are straight.’ And everything in-between. ‘Our skin is brown and black and white and we know the inequality that that brings.’ And we need to fight that. ‘we love to sing, we cry too easily sometimes, we try to find God not only in our tradition but with our Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian brothers and sisters.’

James reminds us that our diverse Gospel is one of ‘good news because it brings a person into the everlasting and increasing joy of Jesus Christ. He is not merely the rope that pulls us from the threatening waves, he is the solid beach under our feet, the air in our lungs and the beat of our heart, the warm sun on our skin, the song in our ears and the arms of our beloved.’

James and his brother John also nicknamed ‘Sons of thunder’ reminding us the good news we have to proclaim by our lives is not just to be spoken but to be shouted like a clap of thunder. If we are representing that Gospel then it’s not just the beautifully scripted poetry of our lives and the prim and proper, it’s the anger that makes us see red, it’s in that cup of suffering that we share, the very same one that Jesus begs to be taken away, it’s the pain, it’s agony, it’s grief, it’s the cross. It’s in our wishing to be held, seen and touched, to be told that we are doing well and that there is a place just for us. It exists in the very midst of our messy lives in its desire to feel something more than the world can give, it’s passion, it’s also there in our striving to follow the commandments, to be more, to give more and to be better people.

James is the perfect Saint for us to journey through all those feelings and to discover just what our diverse Gospel contains because he himself is messy, he shows the very worst and best parts of ourselves.

I’d like to finish with this poem from Adrian Plass. Like in this poem and with James the paradox is that following Jesus is a beautifully transcendent life full of both deep faith and great fear.

‘When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in, tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin. He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink, do you still want to follow me? I said Amen-I think. I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen, I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again? You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink. Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen-I think.’

‘But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said, I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed. Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit, do you still want to follow me? I said Amen- a bit. A bit Amen, amen a bit, a bit I say Amen. I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again? You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit, Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen-a bit.’

‘Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy, Now, Lord, I said, the good book says that Christians live in joy. That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow, so do you want to follow me, I said, Amen-tomorrow. Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen, I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again? You say that I will need the joy, to bear the pain and sorrow, well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen-tomorrow.’

‘He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me, a quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity, the cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit, Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen-I quit. I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you, but I don’t think religion is a cool thing to do. He said forget religion then, and think about my Son, and tell me if you’re brave enough to do what he has done.’

‘Are you brave enough to see the need, and brave enough to go, brave enough to care for those whom no one wants to know, brave enough to say the thing that people hate to hear, to battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear. And listen! Are you brave enough to stand it at the end, the moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend, are you brave enough to hold your tongue and brave enough to cry? When nails break your body, are you brave enough to die? Brave enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown? Brave enough to love the world and turn it upside down. Are you brave enough to follow me; I ask you once again?’

‘I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said…Amen.’

Prayer intentions


Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Church

  • For Abigail as she prepares to train for ordination

  • Christine, Bishop of Newcastle

  • All still unable to attend church and feel cut off from the fellowship and sacramental life of the church.

The World

  • those in government, and those faced by difficult decisions.

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

  • Families struggling at home.

  • Victims of bullying and domestic violence

  • Places whose health services are most vulnerable and undeveloped.

  • An end to inequality. A more sustainable use and equitable allocation of the world’s resources.

  • Medical staff and health professionals including all working in mental health

The Sick & Suffering

  • All who have asked for our prayers

  • The Riches family

  • Linda, Stuart, and their son David

  • All affected by Covid19

The Departed

  • Phyllis Pullar

  • Those we have known and loved and whose examples we cherish.

  • All victims of Covid 19.

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.


Go forth and tell! O Church of God, awake! God's saving news to all the nations take: proclaim Christ Jesus, Saviour, Lord and King, that all the world his glorious praise may sing.

Go forth and tell! God's love embraces all, he will in grace respond to all who call: how shall they call if they have never heard the gracious invitation of his word?

Go forth and tell! The doors are open wide: share God's good gifts — let no one be denied; live out your life as Christ your Lord shall choose, your ransomed powers for his sole glory use.

Go forth and tell! O Church of God, arise! Go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies; go till all nations his great name adore and serve him, Lord and King for evermore.


May the infinite and glorious Trinity,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

direct our life in good works,

and after our journey through this world,

grant us eternal rest with the saints.

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

Lustig und Traurig by Ludwig van Beethoven

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