News from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Alfred Wallis, Steamboat with two sailors, lighthouse and rocks
Oil on card, Kettles Yard, Cambridge
Reading and intercessions
Would you like to help us lead Sunday worship? Even if you haven't read in a service or led the prayers before, or if you are not sure but might be interested, then just let us know! We can do training and have a practice run with you so you can give it a go before committing. Speak with Chris or any of the clergy.
Congratulations Brenda McCutcheon, included on the Queen's birthday honours list 2021!
Our own Brenda McCutcheon, sewing teacher and churchwarden at St Margaret's Scotswood, has been recognised for her incredible work enabling her students to make PPE for the NHS at the height of the pandemic, she even continued the work when in the hospital herself!
She is to be made a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM). Well done Brenda and your students for using your skills to help others!
Worship in all our churches on Sunday 4th July
9.45am Venerable Bede
9.45am St James
11.15am St John's
11.15am St Margaret's
As we continue our experiments with worship in Benwell and Scotswood on the first Sunday of the month. In July we will have a Sunday service in all four of our churches for the first time in over a year! We will try out a new pattern of service times to make it possible for our clergy to sustain worship in all our buildings without calling in outside help.
Please remember: Hands, Face, Space.
We still need to sanitise our hands on entering the church, wear a face covering, and stay 2 metres apart.
We are now allowed to meet inside the church after the service, in socially distanced groups of 6 or less, or two households. As long as the weather is good, we will continue to go outside after the service, but this means we can shelter from the rain if necessary!
Please remember face coverings still must be worn (unless you are medically exempt or while doing a reading in the service).
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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.
O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Fathers and children this Father's day.
The sick and suffering:
James, Christina, and baby Xavier
Ali Zareie and his family
The Riches Family
All those who are Struggling at home or in hospital with Covid 19
Rest In Peace :
All who lost their lives from Covid 19
2 Corinthians 6.1–13 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.
Mark 4.35–41 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
The Revd David Kirkwood, Team Rector.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It is Father’s Day today. It’s not part of the church calendar but that doesn’t mean we can’t join in the celebration. After all there are some fairly obvious links with celebrating and being grateful for fathers and the teaching of the church. ‘Honour your father and mother’ is one of the 10 commandments, and being grateful for parental care and respectful to those who give it and showing paternal love in turn is definitely behaviour the church encourages.
But more than conduct -the heart of Jesus’s teaching is that we have a heavenly Father – In the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to pray to ‘our Father in heaven’
In the Sermon on the Mount we are told ‘not one sparrow falls to earth’ without the father’s knowing it and ‘you are worth more than sparrows’
Jesus teaches us that that is reality, the way things are, it is not simply about how to behave, but If we grasp this teaching it will certainly make an impact on how we live. Jesus himself shows this by example. In Him we see what it means to have a Heavenly Father. We see it as he makes time to step aside and pray to the Father, how, in prayer, he calls him ‘Abba’ a word that expresses not distance but intimacy like our ‘dad’ or ‘daddy’. We see it lived out in his trusting dependence on His Father, today’s gospel is a perfect example.
It’s late he’s been teaching he’s very much in demand, very busy and he’s tired, so he flops. There he is fast asleep on the cushion. The wind gets up, the waves rise, it’s blowing a hoolie, but there is no change, he sleeps on like a baby.
How different it is for the disciples they are terrified and rush to wake Him ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’
It is hard not to sympathise with the disciples -the danger is clearly real, after all some of them are experienced seamen, they know they are in trouble, but Jesus doesn’t seem bothered at all- it’s all right to talk about the loving Father but when the ship is about to sink?
We sympathise because we know how we would be- we know how we are in situations that are nothing like so serious- fretful, anxious, wanting reassurance, wanting help can’t sleep, can’t relax, we all have times like that, when the Father seems not to care, not a loving but an absent parent.
But when the disciples wake Jesus, what he does then, leaves them even more astonished and afraid than the storm.
Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the sea
‘Peace! Be still!' Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
Jesus rebukes not only the elements but also the disciples ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’
And they were filled with great awe.
Jesus rebukes them, they should have had faith, that trust in the heavenly Father that he has been banging on about, hasn’t he explained often enough, OK even if it might seem difficult when they are on their own, surely while he was there with them they could have trusted.
After this act of power we are told there was ‘a great calm’–(our translation said a dead calm but the Greek words are ‘galene megale’ megalos meaning huge, immense.) It’s a wonderful image the calm after the storm that is not less than the presence of wind and thunder and lightning but somehow greater. As when God spoke with Elijah in the cave not in the earthquake wind or fire but in the ‘still small voice’ that came after, in the words of the hymn the ‘still small voice of calm’. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
A great calm, in the midst of fear and anxiety, a demonstration that the Heavenly Father can indeed be trusted. A great calm something I suppose we’d all like to experience. Where can we find it? Everyone has suggestions; a therapy or relaxation technique, or diet, or exercise etc, of course there is not necessarily anything wrong with all these things, they may well be beneficial but this ‘Great Calm’ is of a different order, on a different plane. This ‘Great Calm’ can touch every part of our being and sustain us through every peril even death itself. This ‘Great Calm’ comes only from Jesus, His word, His presence which recall us to the presence of God, the Heavenly Father to whom we can cry Abba Father and in whose hands we are held, more precious than any sparrow. In this Great Calm We can sleep soundly on the Fathers’ bosom
But a word of warning, if we only had this story from the gospel to go on, we might be misled. Here an act of power reveals the reality of God’s sovereignty and paternal care, but that is not the whole picture. That is not the way that the Heavenly Father chooses to redeem the world. Jesus the loyal Son must face worse than the storm, and no word of power will turn back the winds and waves of hatred that will overwhelm him.
Here he sleeps and the disciples wake him. There will come a time when it will be the disciples who will sleep and, unable to wake them, he will face chaos & darkness wide awake and alone. A time when his trust in the Heavenly Father will be pushed to its limits and he will pray ‘let this cup pass me by but not my will but yours be done’, a time when he must remain silent in the face of the storm of the world’s sin and rejection, a time when and pain and death will not be overcome with a word of power but only overcome in weakness by bearing all.
So yes there is reassurance here but let’s be clear what it is and what it is not. It is certainly not that we will be exempt from the storms and perils of life. Listen again to St Paul’s experience -afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; not at all a great advert for being a follower of Christ, not much of a therapy. But Paul goes on to reassure that whatever he faces he is not abandoned. He has learned to trust the Christ without and within, the order in the chaos, the light in the darkness, the Great Calm at the heart of the Storm.
we are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see – we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Like Paul, may the Living Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit bring us to trust in the love of the Heavenly Father, so that in all our doings our hearts may be touched with His Great Calm.