21st June 2020
Weekly notices and a service for worship at home
Iranian refugee members of our congregation help refurbish St James' front doors earlier this year.
Our churches are open! (sort of)
We can't hold services yet, but two of our buildings are open for peace and private prayer.
On Sundays we will have the sacrament (consecrated bread) on the altar as a symbol of Jesus' real presence with us and sacrifice for us.
If you visit, please remember to:
Sanitise your hands when you enter and leave (sanitiser is provided).
Stay 2 metres apart from others (whether moving around the church or sitting down)
Use the allocated entrance and exit (follow the signage!)
Do not visit if you are vulnerable (over 70 or with a pre-existing condition), we love you too much to put you in danger! And if you feel unwell, stay at home and contact us if you need help.
Do you need some help?
If you have to self-isolate you don’t have to feel alone!
The council have set up a helpline for those who need help the pandemic. Call CityLife line: 0191 277 8000
You can also contact the clergy or our volunteers and we will find the best way to support you:
Contact us here
One of the unforeseen pressures of the pandemic is that many of our members give money physically and this is no longer possible. To keep our work going and our buildings open we are asking that, 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.
You can set this up with your bank online using the details here.
Or download and print a standing order form here and send it to your bank.
Or if you wish to be posted a form please just call us or email email@example.com
New ramp and toilets for the Venerable Bede
In light of current circumstances, we are ensuring faculties are posted publicly online as well as physically outside the church. You can read the faculty notice on that page and and objections may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Church of England have also begun developing resources to help families develop and grow in faith at home (and not just for lockdown use!) You can find the videos here.
Submit prayer requests online!
You can now submit your prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregations will pray for you each week. You can do this here.
Second Sunday after Trinity
Reflection by Abigail Harris, Pastoral Assistant
Service led by The Revd Chris Minchin
We will pray at 10am on Sunday, join us at home at if you can.
The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge on the presence of God.
Sorge from 'Piano Pieces for Children', Béla Bartók
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.
Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness, all slander and malice,
and confess our sins to God our redeemer.
We have not always worshipped God, our creator.
Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)
We have not always followed Christ, our Saviour.
Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy.)
We have not always trusted in the Spirit, our guide.
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.
Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A reading from Paul's letter to the Romans.
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
You have the words of eternal life.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ!
by Abigail Harris
May I speak and may we all hear in the name of God; Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit. Amen.
‘’Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn, a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in law against her mother-in law, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’’
I’ve always found these words rather perplexing coming from Jesus who is the epitome of peace. And yet at the same time perhaps they are actually rather fitting considering the unusual amount of time we are spending with our families or housemates…our patience can wear thin! Then again, they do seem to be a rather odd choice given in fact that today is Father’s Day.
Habitually it’s a day where we honour and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds and anyone who fulfilled the role of ‘dad’ in our lives. Those who are more fortunate among us will have had largely positive experiences of fatherhood, but for myself alongside many others…even some of you who are listening now, it simply isn’t the case. In fact, if I’m honest this is possibly the most confronting sermon I’ve had to write so far!
Streams of emails from card companies, television and sometimes shop windows remind us that it’s meant to be an important day filled with traditional joyous family gatherings with the typical nuclear family. Even with the modern ‘opt out’ button that some companies allow for, simply doesn’t take away the fact that you still have to find some way of getting through the day.
Where it’s a time of celebration; rejoice and be glad! It can also be a day of feeling angry and robbed of something you never had, guilt that exacerbates of missing yet another family occasion, that familiar sting of sadness at not being able to spend time with the ones you love and hold dear, the pain that sometimes eats you alive of all the words left unsaid, the aching heartbreak from bereavement, the unshakable envy that confronts you when you look at others and their family circumstances that you perceive to be ‘perfect’. It can be a day so complex, to which the greeting cards simply seem to make no reference.
However, as this Father’s Day approaches, it’s just a normal Sunday like any other and yet it’s not…we’re left pondering how this year things will be different. And the stark reality that is this: things won’t ever be the same again.
This year brings additional challenges of its own: the covid-19 pandemic has caused the whole world to pause, and with so much uncertainty we are beginning to see the awakening of a new world where paradoxically it’s never been more beautiful and at the same time full of so much pain and suffering.
We simply just don’t rest in the peace of this healing world; we bring that sword and turn against each other just as humanity has been doing since almost the beginning of creation…think of Cain and Abel, Herod and John the Baptist, the adulterous woman whom Jesus forgave or the crowd yelling ‘Crucify!’
And what about the world now? A world where life is so precious that we can extend it further than ever before but where casual racism is woven into society, sexism and gender stereotypes are the norm, homophobia is real, there’s war, destruction and abuse.
‘What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?’
Now when I hear this reading, I interpret it a little differently. We are indeed called to bring the sword but not that of destruction but one of justice; not to turn on each other but so that we can be strong and more able to stand up and make a difference to the world ; so that we’re able to see God’s design in each other, to remind others of their worth when they forget or the world tells them differently… when they are told that because of their colour, their race, their religion, their sexuality they don’t matter because they don’t fit expectations, we will be able to tell remind them that they are precious in the eyes of God the Father.
We are called to bring the sword to be an advocate for others, to proclaim from the rooftops; to shout, to scream, to breathe and to say that ‘shall we go on living like this?! No!’
‘No’ well…what then? And ‘What kind of useless God is that?’ Allowing all this to happen…Rev. Lucy Winkett, Rector of St. James Church Piccadilly said ‘As Christians we will say that God is here unseen, not much understood, sometimes heard or felt, but in suffering Christ irreducibly, lovingly and forgivingly here.’
Advocate then for a ‘church and a society that refuses to condemn even softly or politely the flourishing of women in leadership or for the right of LGBTQ people to love who they love without fear.’ Advocate then for a church acknowledging our failures and for one committed to change. Advocate for a ‘church that is not afraid to beg God for forgiveness, who weeps at the injustices of people of colour.’ Advocate for the Poor and marginalised; those who are so often forgotten. Advocate for a world that truly believes that every person is cherished, loved and held… and one that’s brave, hopeful and free.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Those in government, and those faced with hard decisions.
South America and that the spread of Covid-19 will slow down.