News from the Benwell & Scotswood
Image: Hendrick van Balen, Holy Trinity (1620)
Oil on Panel, St James Church Antwerp
Worship with us at St James'
We continue to meet as a team parish at St James' Benwell. You are very welcome to join us even if you're new!
Sundays at 10.30am
Experimental Sunday worship - 6th June
At our annual meeting we discussed how we'd like things to be as our churches emerge from lockdown. So for the first Sunday of the month during the Summer we will be experimenting with how this could look.
Next Sunday at 10:30 am at St. James we will be trying out extra-accessible worship for those who may speak other languages, have different abilities, or from different backgrounds. Everyone is welcome to attend! If there is anything that we could do to make it accessible to you, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us! (We will try our best)
Congratulations to our churchwardens!
Congratulations to Edith Hutchinson, Joe Foster (St John's), Kathy Germain (Ven Bede), Brenda McCutcheon, Claire Lewis (St Margaret's), Christina Wilson (St James) on being re-elected as Churchwardens. And to Chris Foskett elected as St James Churchwarden for the first time!
Thank you to everyone who came to our annual meeting, if you would like to read the annual report you can click here
A special thank you to Pat Young!
We want to give a special thank you to Pat Young! Pat will now be taking a well-deserved retirement from being St James' churchwarden after serving both the community and building faithfully for so many years.
10:30 at St James
Sadly we currently don't have the capability to provide captions on our Live stream (though we hope to change this!) but you are most welcome to come in person to the 10:30am Service at St James and we will be happy to accommodate you the best we can.
We would like to welcome everyone. St James can be accessed by a wheelchair and we do have a Disabled Toilet that can be used. The welcome team will be more than happy to assist you during your visit. If you would like to inform us in advance that you are interested in coming please click here. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
Covid 19 Update:
Please Remember: Hands, Face, Space.
We will still need to sanitise our hands on entering the church, wear a face covering, and stay 2 metres part.
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).
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
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.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
one God, who was, and who is, and who is to come,
James, Christina, and baby Xavier
Ali Zareie and his family
The Riches Family
The community of the Resurrection
Revd Chris Minchin (that his Retreat this week goes well)
All those who are Struggling at home or in hospital with Covid 19
Rest In Peace :
Thomas 'Tucker' Wilson
All who lost their lives from Covid 19
Introduction to the Peace
Peace to you from God our heavenly Father.
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.
Peace from the Holy Spirit, the life-giver.
The peace of the triune God be always with you
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For with your only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
you are one God, one Lord.
All that you reveal of your glory,
the same we believe of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, without any difference or inequality.
We, your holy Church, acclaim you,
Father of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
Three Persons we adore,
one in being and equal in majesty.
And so with angels and archangels,
with cherubim and seraphim,
we sing for ever of your glory:
Gracious God, lover of all,
in this sacrament
we are one family in Christ your Son,
one in the sharing of his body and blood
and one in the communion of his Spirit:
help us to grow in love for one another
and come to the full maturity of the Body of Christ.
We make our prayer through your Son our Saviour.
The Lord bless you and keep you:
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace:
The Lord God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
the holy and undivided Trinity,
guard you, save you,
and bring you to that heavenly city,
where he lives and reigns for ever and ever.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above. Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above. The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him
The Revd Chris Minchin (Team Curate)
We recite the Creed every Sunday, a long droning list of what we believe as Christians. It seems a rather boring and restrictive thing to do. Where did this list even come from?
You may know already that the creed comes from a statement first written all the way back in 325AD, and it was the culmination of probably the most dramatic soap-opera of the early church. Believe it or not, there were riots in ancient cities over what they thought about the trinity and Christ’s true identity. To put an end to this fighting once and for all, the Roman emperor, Constantine, summoned all the bishops from across the known world to a council meeting in Nicaea.
On one side was Arius and his supporters, a priest who said that Christ was created by God, and therefore subordinate to the father. On the other side were those who believed that the three persons of the trinity were equal to each other, of the same substance, and that they had always existed and therefore could not have been created. And, supposedly, one of the people in this camp, was none other than Saint Nicholas, that’s right, better known as Santa Claus, who now pops down your chimney at Christmas. But who was actually a Turkish bishop at the time.
As Arius spoke about how Christ was not equal to the Father, feeling his beliefs were under attack, Santa supposedly got more and more worked up, until finally he got up, walked across the room, and smacked Arius in the face. Santa was temporarily put into jail until he repented. But ultimately his side won the debate and the Church eventually decided that the Trinity was one God made up of three persons all equal, and always having existed. Though this achievement was probably not helped by Saint Nicholas’ boxing skills.
That is of course a very simplified account and debates still continue today about the nature of God, but the trinity is nonetheless the central belief of the Christian church. Today we celebrate this idea on Trinity Sunday, and I am meant to preach a sermon that gives you an idea of what the trinity is. The problem is, even after three years of studying theology, I still cannot adequately explain it. In fact even after centuries of fighting and debate and thousands of books written, I don’t think anyone has adequately explained it. It is not even something explicitly mentioned in the Bible, though we believe there are signs of it throughout. Rather it is something the church has over centuries discerned to be true from their direct experience of God.
Firstly, from the experience of being alive at all, we believe there is a creator. Where God came from we don’t know, but because we exist, because there is a world and creation, we therefore believe something existed before everything else. One thing from which everything came, not multiple Gods.
Secondly, in our Gospel passage, we read: “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven” and “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”. We believe this was Jesus Christ who came from the Father, we experienced a real person who came into the world, who stepped down into history in human form, who met real people, spoke with real people, ate, drank, and cried with real people, and suffered and died a real human death, but also conquered death and rose again. We believe that in Jesus is the very presence of God reaching into the world physically, because he loves us. In Christ we meet God as fully God, not something created by God and separate to him.
Thirdly we believe we experience God in ourselves and each other. In our first reading we hear “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” We know the Holy Spirit in a very real way. That knowingness of God’s love - that God both surrounds you and is also within you, that we are loved as children. The feeling of being guided, that you are not forgotten, the thing that gives us life and breath. An impossible thing to describe, but I think most of us somehow know that we are more than just flesh and blood, there is spirit also. We just know we are more than the sum of our parts. It is mysterious, but as it says in the Gospel “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”
There are many inadequate pictures and diagrams to help us understand these three aspects of who God is - three leaves of the same plant; how water can be ice, liquid, or steam; three sides of one triangle; spreading fire- lighting three candles from one flame. But none of them fully sum up something we just know to be true but cannot explain. We know that God is in us, but also beyond us, that God is in creation but much more than creation. As Paul says in the 1 Corinthians, “we see through a glass darkly”, meaning we can see some aspects but not all at once. We know the trinity is true because we experience one God in different ways, but we also know our experience is not all there is, there is always more we don’t know. And the creed simply is the statement that we have all wrangled with to give some language, some words to help each other know God better, not to limit the identity of God.