News from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Sebastiano del Piombo, Salome with head of John the Baptist, 1510
Oil on wood, National Gallery, London
This Sunday's guest preacher - welcome back Abi!
Abigail Harris, our former pastoral assistant, is now training for ordination at Westcott House in Cambridge. We're sure you'll be delighted to know she is visiting Newcastle this week and will be preaching for us.
Goodbye to Zohreh and Melika - thank you for everything!
It is with huge sadness, but real pride, that we say goodbye to Zohreh and her daughter Melika who will soon be moving to London. Zohreh has been our Farsi translator every Sunday throughout the pandemic, enabling our Persian group to partake in worship and much else throughout the week. A job that takes an incredible amount of hard work behind the scenes.
We will miss them very much as they move to London for Melika to go to college and Zohreh to pursue work and hopefully discern vocation in the church. We know they will do great things wherever they are, our prayers are with them and they will always have a church family here in Newcastle.
First Sunday in August - including children in Holy Communion
As we continue our experiments with worship in Benwell and Scotswood on the first Sunday of the month. In August we will have a communion service as normal, but we will be trying out a format that is especially welcoming to children and families.
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.
Cornerstone Community Cafe open!
Wednesdays & Thursdays 10am - 2pm
62 Armstrong Road, NE4 7TU
Delicious affordable meals
Computer and Internet Access
Food pantry and emergency foodbank
and a great pre-loved shop!
Bible study with Farsi translation
Evert Tuesday at 4.30pm
St James' Benwell
Every week we meet to read and discuss the Bible. We have a translator for our Persian members, but anyone is welcome to come whatever language you speak!
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 prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you
that we, loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
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.
God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Billy Wilson & Donna Fowler (final reading)
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
Zohreh and Melika as they move to London.
Ina Butler on her birthday
Pauline and Ellis Nelson on their 50th wedding anniversary
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
Mark 6.14–29 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Abigail Harris, Ordinand.
May I speak and may we all hear in the name of God; Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Leonardo De Vinci once said, ‘’While I thought I was learning to live, I have been learning to die.’’ Every one of us will die. It’s something in life that is inevitable. But the question we have to ask ourselves is, ‘’What am I living for and what am I dying for?’’
Our Gospel reading this morning is fairly unusual. We are used to hearing words about the loveliness of God, of miracles, hope and peace or of hearing stories where Jesus is made out to be the protagonist and come swooping in to save the world. But what we have here is rather gory and in fact is quite possibly one of the most dramatic scenes in Mark’s Gospel! It can be quite disturbing to listen to.
I think what makes it this way, is the uncomfortable truth that we know and have to confront but often try to avoid; that following Jesus is risky, and it may cost us our lives. Preparing the way for God does not necessarily mean we have to become martyrs, but it is a call to be faithful, to die to oneself and to rise again and again.
Following John’s example; we are living to follow Christ. We live to speak out in the face of injustice. To fight against the abuse of power in the world. To not pander to royalty and wealth. To speak the truth we believe, even if it is the unpopular opinion. To be a voice for the poor, marginalised and oppressed.
We are also called to expose the darkest use of power in our own lives; those damaged parts that we try to hide, our scars and bruises that make us feel ashamed or our fear of standing up and being made to be an outcast.
Following John’s example; we are called to have the courage of our convictions and above all, to put our lives on the line for what we believe. We are to prepare a way for Christ to enter our lives and the lives of others.
John the Baptist’s death is sandwiched in the midst of Mark’s telling of the sending out of the 12 disciples and countless stories of faith from the calming of the storm to the raising of Jairus’s daughter. I believe this was Mark’s intention; that the church needed to hear, as we still do, that God’s purpose and mission is so much stronger than death.
This passage foreshadows Jesus’ own death which although brutal and unforgiving always ends with hope. Death is not the end and we are simply asked to have faith.
We too need to hear this as a reminder that the dark and difficult times of our lives are not signs that God is powerless or uncaring, but here alongside us in the midst of the challenges and the messiness of life.
What then am I living for? When this Gospel passage is so dark and full of bloodshed? What then am I dying for?
We live and die to ‘‘do our little bit of good where we are; and it’s through those little bits of good put together that we overwhelm the world.’’ We live to stand strong in the face of the world’s evils, to bring light to where ever we are, to embrace life, to serve others and to daily die to self and rise again and again. We are to be the change we wish to see in the world and to keep in mind the hope of the Resurrection. We live to be brave.