Harvest Festival & Annual Meeting - Church at Home

11th October 2020

Weekly notices, Church at Home & watch live

(Scroll down for this week's service)

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Peasant Wedding (1567); Oil on canvas, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Welcome to our Harvest Thanksgiving special edition of Church at Home! There is no sermon this week, but at the end you will hear the Team Rector’s annual report.

Sunday, 10.30am at St James'

We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team. Let us know you're coming if you can!

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Harvest Festival this Sunday

10.30am at St James' Benwell.

You are invited to join us for our Harvest festival at our Sunday service, when we celebrate the gifts of God's creation and those who work to provide us with food.

If you can, please bring non-perishable food items to donate to the West End Foodbank.

APCM - Sunday 11th October

Don't forget our 'Annual Parochial Church Meeting' will be directly after the service this Sunday. Find everything you need here >

Team Service moving to the Venerable Bede from 25th October

We continue to hold one single team service every Sunday at 10.30am. The service has been held at St James but from Sunday 25th October will move to the Venerable Bede (St James’ heating being unreliable!).

Important reminder

Download the NHS test and trace app here >

In addition to our own contact list, you can use the new NHS app to scan our 'QR code' when you enter the church building.

And please always remember:

  • Sanitise your hands when you enter and leave.

  • Wear a mask, including while outside the building

  • Stay 2m apart.

  • Stay at home if you feel unwell (contact us if you need anything!)

You can now submit prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregation will pray for you each week.

Submit prayer requests >

New videos for worship with children are uploaded every week by the Diocese of Newcastle.

Kids' Resources >


Trinity 17

Service led by The Revd David Kirkwood & The Revd Dominic Coad

This week will be different as we celebrate our Harvest Festival and gather for our Annual meeting. Instead of the reflection David has recorded his report on the parish over the last year which you will hear at the end.

Watch here at 10.30am >

or listen and read along here:

The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge the presence of God.

Intro music

Interlude by César Franck.

Opening prayer

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


We confess our sin, and the sins of our society,

in the misuse of God’s creation.

God our Father, we are sorry

for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly,

and acted ungratefully.

Hear our prayer, and in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We enjoy the fruits of the harvest,

but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who are full and satisfied,

but ignore the cry of the hungry.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We are thoughtless,

and do not care enough for the world you have made.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

We store up goods for ourselves alone,

as if there were no God and no heaven.

Father, in your mercy:

forgive us and help us.

May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


Eternal God,

you crown the year with your goodness

and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season:

grant that we may use them to your glory,

for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being;

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.



A reading from St Paul's second letter to the Corinthians

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

(2 Corinthians 9.6-end)

This is the word of the Lord.

(Thanks be to God)


Alleluia, alleluia.

God has spoken to us through his Son,

through whom he created the worlds.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

Glory to you O Lord

Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

(Luke 12.16-30)

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)


Let us give thanks to God,

the God of all peoples of the earth.

For the colour and forms of your creation

and our place within it,

we bring our thanks, good Lord:

your mercy endures for ever.

For our daily food,

and for those whose work and skill

bring your good gifts to us,

we bring our thanks, good Lord:

your mercy endures for ever.

For the gifts and graces inspired in human minds

and hearts; for insight and imagination,

for the skills of research which bring healing and

fulfilment to the lives of many;

we bring our thanks, good Lord:

your mercy endures for ever.

For the light and shades of the changing seasons,

and their variety and dependability; for new life

and growth out of barrenness and decay;

we bring our thanks, good Lord:

your mercy endures for ever.

For new hope and strength in our communities,

especially in your Church and among all you call to serve you,

we bring our thanks, good Lord;

your mercy endures for ever.

For all in whose lives we see

goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience and humility,

and all the fruit of the Spirit,

we bring our thanks, good Lord:

your mercy endures for ever.

For the life we have been given,

and for all those whom you have given us to share it,

we bring our thanks, good Lord:

your mercy endures for ever.

Prayer intentions

Let us pray to God, the Lord of the harvest,

that he will bring to fruition all that he desires

for his creation.

Lord of creation, we see that the fields are ripe

for harvesting: we pray for your Church, that it

may be ready to gather fruit for eternal life.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

You have created the universe by your eternal

Word, and have blessed humankind in giving us

Stewardship of the earth: we pray for the

world, that we may honour and share its

resources, and live in reverence for the creation

and in harmony with one another.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

Your Son has promised that the Spirit will lead

us into all truth: we pray for the community in

which you have set us, for one another and for

ourselves, that we may bring forth the fruit of

the Spirit in love and joy and peace.

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

You have given your people a rich land,

yet by sin we have made a world of suffering

and sorrow: we pray for those who bear the

weight of affliction, that they may come to share

the life of wholeness and plenty.

  • All who have asked for our prayers

  • The Riches family

  • Linda, Stuart, and their son David

  • Frank Swales

  • John Weightman

  • Dee Humphrey

  • Claire Mozaffari

  • Eric Harling

  • Herbert

  • All affected by Covid19

Your Son Jesus Christ is the first-fruits of the

resurrection and will reap the harvest of the

dead at the end of time: we pray that he will

gather us all together with those who have gone

before in the banquet of the age to come.

  • Joan Guthrie

  • John Pearson

  • Peter Cox

Lord of the harvest,

in your mercy hear us.

Source of all life and giver of all that is good,

hear our prayers and grant us all that is in

accordance with your will; through Jesus Christ

our Lord.


Lord's Prayer

Let us pray with confidence

as our Saviour has taught us:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.


Listen to the music here >

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand. He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

Refrain: All good gifts around us are sent from heav'n above; then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love.

He only is the Maker of all things near and far; he paints the wayside flower, he lights the evening star; the wind and waves obey him, by him the birds are fed; much more to us, his children, he gives our daily bread. [Refrain]

We thank you, then, O Father, for all things bright and good: the seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food; no gifts have we to offer for all your love imparts, but that which you desire now: our humble, thankful hearts! [Refrain]


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore. Amen


2019 was a strange year for me. I have not normally taken extra time off but this year I had to have unplanned leave at the beginning of the year, after a surgical infection, and then, for family reasons, an unplanned trip to Japan in December. I am very grateful to everyone for their support and for making sure things continued smoothly. Churchwardens, visiting clergy, and of course Dominic, Chris, Anne and Derek were a big part of that, and all had more to do. Thank you. If 2019 was strange 2020 was about to get a whole lot stranger with everyone taken by surprise by Covid19. Not only did it come suddenly but its effects have been far reaching and are of course on going. Rather than say too much about that just yet I’d like to start with a look back at 2019.

In last year’s report I mentioned the ‘7spaces’ mission planning day which Anne and Derek Marr organised for us. I noted how it helped remind us that we need time for refreshment for prayer, time just being with God and each other. This wasn’t just a pious hope, following on from the day, things were put in place to encourage that to happen and highlights from the past year included some of them, for example the trip to the coast, the quiet day in Durham, our talent evening in February, the wonderful lunches at Cornerstone including the memorable Persian cuisine, and our ongoing worship especially at team events and in our prayer, house ,and bible study groups. The Mission Action Planning group has continued to be active and was given fresh inspiration by participation in the LYCIG programme (leading your church into growth). Among other things this helped inspire a new ‘Exploring Faith’ group for those new to church or wishing to go deeper. One thing that was clear from the LYCIG away day, when churches were asked to calculate how many people they were already in contact with, is just how ‘out there’ our team already is. Our partner projects Cornerstone, Good Neighbour Project, North Benwell Youth Project and the West End Food Bank, our own events, Lunch break and drop in at St James, the social events across the Team, partners who use our buildings including SEARCH , Changing Lives, and the Scotswood Village Nursery and all our work with schools and young people added up to many thousands, (far more than the other participating churches). All these activities continued in 2019 and we are indebted to all who volunteer and assist in any way including grant funders, this year St James having received a generous grant from Awards 4ALL Lottery Fund for its community work.

The Iranian Bible study continued to thrive and memorable moments were the Easter vigil baptisms and September Confirmation including the moving testimonies from candidates. Our Iranian members also demonstrated their practical skills, sanding and sealing floors and doors here at St James, and helping prepare the Bede for the work in the hall. We are very grateful. Our Iranian members face many uncertainties in life and many things, especially in their dealings with the Home Office, are out of their control , we do our best to support and encourage them ,much of that work is unseen, but we receive so much back in return. I must pay tribute to all our volunteers who have been involved with the group and specially to Chris who has played a central role in enabling this. He is not with us today as he is at Ben’s ordination, but I know you will agree that his ministry is much appreciated, and his ordination and first celebration of the Eucharist were also highpoints of 2019. Chris also chaired our building development group at St James helping us think creatively about how our spaces can be best reconfigured for worship and service now and in the future. Similar work has taken place at the Ven Bede as outlined in Dominic’s report. St Johns have put in hand substantial improvements and St Margaret’s multi-purpose building continues to show what can be possible with SEARCH joining the Nursery and Changing Lives as regular user while Holiday Clubs Youth group etc made good use of their spaces.

We have been blessed in having Abigail with us as pastoral assistant this year, she grew into her role and will be a real miss. We congratulate her and wish her God’s blessing as she starts her training for the priesthood in Cambridge. Abigail was one of those who undertook Authorised Lay Ministry training provided locally by the diocese and Claire and Grace from St Margaret’s also took part in the worship training. As always, we rely on the generosity of our members- you, as you give of time talents and money. In September we had a Team Stewardship service to give thanks, take stock and renew pledges. We didn’t quite manage to reach our financial target but many extra pledges were made. Thank you to all, regular giving is especially helpful when services are suspended and attendance uncertain. It is not possible to do justice to all that happened last year, but I hope that gives a flavour of The Benwell & Scotswood team year. Thank you for your part in it. This brings me to one of the sadder parts of an Annual meeting, reflecting on those no longer with us. This past year has been an especially heavy one, among the friends and members we said goodbye to were The Revd. John Clasper, Elsie Dixon, Betty Shotton, Sheila Nicholson, Ellen Chambers, Phyllis Pullar and John Pearson. There is not time to say more now, but for each of them, we can take hope from the word of the gospel. ‘well done good and faithful servant, enter the joy of your Lord’

Before I finish, I would like to come back to the present and indeed the future, inevitably that means mentioning covid19 and our response to it. Again, I am grateful to all who have responded so well. Within days we had new online services and were sending out paper copies to those unable to access them, we had a new WhatsApp group, we had people ringing round to make sure members could stay in touch. Later on, we had online quizzes and once it was possible to re-open for worship, we were able to open right away for a joint team service. We have continued to provide public worship including baptisms, weddings and funerals. It is no small task with Covid security including complex risk assessments and organising, online activity and the ongoing need for mutual support. Thank you to all.

Our Mission Action Planning Group has also met to think about the way forward, and I would like to share some of that Our priorities fall into broad categories of (1) Building the Team, (2) Reaching Out, and (3) Growing in Faith. For now we are not looking too much beyond lockdown but we do need to recognize that things will not go back to the way they were before not least because we will no longer necessarily have the extra resources provided to the team in the past by retired clergy.

As we move into winter St James’ will no longer be suitable for our weekly team service, we would normally move into the hall but that will not leave room for social distancing. With all the uncertainty and people still understandably unwilling to attend it doesn’t seem the right time to have more than one service so we will move to the largest heatable space we have, namely The Venerable Bede. That will be after the work on the hall is complete and the Foodbank have moved out.

One thing we have missed is more regular lay participation in our services and we will be starting a rota of jobs for readings, prayers etc., and combining this with the online service too. We hope to continue with the Farsi translating and are experimenting with pre recording this too. Thank you to Zoreh for her help. New rules suggest a small music group is now allowed to sing in the live service, and we are working on this, looking ahead we hope might be able to prepare some carols for Christmas.

So much is now online that we want to make sure we are making the most of our communications we plan to have a seasonal newsletter available online. We also aim to bring all the church Facebook groups under one team group.

I’ve mentioned how much we rely on one another and the variety of contributions people make there are no doubt many unsung heroes. It may be though there are others who could and would like to do more but are not sure how to start or who to ask. So I know not everyone loves a questionnaire but my final appeal today is for everyone to take part in our survey, fill in the form either now, or take it way and return later, or do it online. It really will help us make sure we are facing the future in the best possible shape recognizing and using all the wonderful gifts we have been given.

Thank you again and God Bless,

David Kirkwood.

Outro music

Harvest Song by Robert Schumann.

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