News from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Dates for your diary
Sunday 19th June
9.45am, St Margaret's – Holy Communion
11am, St James – Hub Service (Holy Communion)
Tuesday 21st June
4pm at St John's - Film screening of 'Gannin alang the wall'
Thurs 23rd June
From 11am at St James - Launch event for Exhibition in Exile
Exhibition runs Thurs 23 - Sun 26 June
Thursday 23rd June
Patronal festival (Birth of St John the Baptist)
11am, St John's – Holy Communion
Sunday 3rd July 2022
11am, St Aidan's Billy Mill, NE29 8BZ
Pam Ingham's 25th Anniversary of ordination
For a list of upcoming services please see here >
Exhibition in Exile at St James, Thurs 23 - Sun 26 June
Launch event Thurs 23rd June, from 11am
Panel discussion and music performances from 12pm
For Refugee Week 2022 St James will be hosting an incredible exhibition of over 50 satirical cartoons about the refugee crisis.
Open 10-4 Thurs to Sun.
Join us for the launch event on Thursday! Refreshments available from 11am. From 12 there will be a panel discussion by artists and those working with refugees, followed by music and more.
The exhibition has been made possible by our project partners:
The Dialogue Society
Time to Help
Human Rights Solidarity
Film screening 'Gannin alang the wall'
St John's, Tues 21st June at 4pm
Followed by tea and cake!
Marking the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian's Wall the Heritage and Environment Group have made an incredible film tracing the actual route of the wall through modern day Newcastle.
Join us for a screening at St John's Benwell Village.
Revd Pam Ingham's 25th Anniversary of ordination - Sun 3rd July
11am at St Aidan's Billy Mill
Please join us as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Revd Pamela Ingham MBE at a service of Holy Communion on Sunday 3rd July 2022 at 11am.
St Aidan church, Billy Mill Lane, NE29 8BZ
Preacher Revd Canon Murray Haig
After the service refreshments will be served in the hall.
RSVP Shirley Irving.
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
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.
Galatians 3.23–29 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Luke 8.26–39 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
By Revd David
This is one of the most vivid stories in the Gospel and one of the strangest. It seems at the same time so close to us, so real, and yet bizarre and remote.
The power of the story is its portrayal of transformation, a transformation sketched in just a few words, but so well chosen that the events and personalities come to life instantly.
What a contrast, before - the suffering man at the story’s centre; naked, chained, raving among the tombs, excluded from normal society, like a wild beast, or one already in the realm of the dammed- in Mark’s gospel we have the additional detail, so believable, that he is given to self-harming, cutting himself with stones. Then after, at the end of the story, in a phrase that is almost proverbial for harmony and peace, he sits before us ‘clothed and in his right mind’.
So real, so believable, and yet from another world so distant, so alien. A world where disease, mental and physical, is understood to be the work of demons, demons that physically take control of living creatures and being expelled from the man can take up residence in the pigs before rushing to destruction. A world where exorcism was as regular a part of life as a prescription is today.
So as a story it both attracts and repels, or at least keeps us at arm’s length. It attracts firstly because of the wonderful transformation it witnesses too, but also for what it reveals about Jesus. Where the world has feared and excluded, victimised and tried to control by force Jesus shows compassion. Jesus does not see a problem but a person, a person in need of love and care and healing.
It keeps us at arm’s length because it seems unreal. How can we take this seriously when we know so much more. We have natural scientific explanations for illnesses and in modern medicine have an impressive armoury for healing and treatment for both physical and mental illness?
But is it really so clear cut? Even today with all our knowledge and expertise many conditions continue to defy medical science and plenty of areas are still dark and disputed especially in the realm of the mind. Of course, we can hope that further scientific advances will fill in more gaps in our knowledge and bring more possibilities of successful treatments but that is not really the issue. Are human beings anything more than complex biochemical machines? Are there limits to how far science can provide healing? At the end of the day aging, sickness and death seem unlikely to vanish any time soon and though the demons may not have such tangible forms, evil is still very much with us. Health professionals often talk of a holistic approach of mental, physical and yes spiritual dimensions to healing and wholeness. In the gospel salvation and healing are almost interchangeable words.
Maybe part of the power of this story lies in the awareness that at some level we are all in need of healing, all lost and raving among the tombs all self-harming, excluded and self-excluding, and Jesus can still make a difference, He still reaches out in compassion, ready to meet us at the point of our deepest need, that need for transformation, for release, for a healing that does more than restore a physical or mental balance, unfashionable as it might sound at the place where we need salvation.
Not only can we all be the man at the start of the story, we can all be the man at the end, sitting at Jesus’s feet, clothed and in our right mind.
In the words of the epistle As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. As Paul also says we have the mind of Christ
So the story can speak across the centuries, but that is not to say there aren’t still difficulties. For me the greatest difficulty is not the cultural chasm between the world of two thousand years ago and now but whether the story doesn’t make things seem too easy?
Transformation for the man is the matter of a moment. Life isn’t always like that, anyone who has had to cope with the reality of mental illness either in self or family or friends knows it can be a long struggle and with no overwhelming moment –Christian faith can be challenged by that.
Can there be small transformations? little releases which point towards what the miracle is all about? the promise of more to come? The Gospel picture if you like condenses into a moment what is often work of a lifetime but on the way, there can be very real victories, turning points, and transformations.
It is the same for us in putting on Christ, the transformation miracle is not always an overwhelming moment, there are struggles, setbacks, times of bleakness but also small steps forward and the reassurance that in whatever we go through we are not abandoned but accompanied.
So on this Father’s day let’s finish with Jesus promise
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
If you would like to add someone to the prayer list please email email@example.com
The name will stay on the list for 1 month unless requested to be long-term.
Prayers for others:
Val and Roy Macdonald
The Riches Family
Rest in Peace
Post Communion prayer
we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope,
and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.