March/April 2021 Magazine can be downloaded - WORD PDF




Brandon Parish Magazine
March/April 2021

St. John’s Church, Brandon &
St. Catherine’s Church, New Brancepeth

Sunday services are taking place from 7th March in St. John’s with Covid-19 safety regulations.
The Eucharist services will be shorter than normal with no singing or sermon. Details are:
St. John’s: Sundays – 9.45 am Holy Eucharist
St. Catherine’s - No services at present
For the time being there is a Zoom Eucharist service each Sunday at 08:45. Please ask Fr. Carl for an invitation

Revd. Carl Peters: The Clergy House, Sawmill Lane, Brandon,
Durham, DH7 8NS. Tel: 0191 6803875,

Other Contact Telephone Numbers
St. John’s: David (Churchwarden) – 3789718; Carolyn – 6803875
St. Catherine’s: Joe – 3739927; Liz – 3731554

From the Registers

Funerals at St John’s church
14 Jan 2021 - Sadie Scorer
27 Jan 2021 - Stewart Shippen
1 Feb 2021  - Rosa Tobin
Funeral at St Catherine’s church
4 Jan 2021  - Keith Temple
Funerals at Crematorium
19 Jan 2021 - Doris Carr
29 Jan 2021 - Arthur Carr
3 Feb 2021  - Valerie Maymen


Special Services
St. Catherine’s and other services, including Stations of the Cross and Holy Week services, will be posted on the Website and communicated by phone to those not on-line,
Tuesdays and Thursdays: Fr. Carl will say Morning Prayer at 8.45 am on zoom. Contact Fr. Carl for an invitation – all welcome.

Lent Group 2.00 pm Fridays: Churches Together Lent Group following latest York Course on Care for Creation, held on Zoom; for an invitation contact Bill Offler, (DH7 Churches Together Secretary)
Prayer for Our Churches: Tuesday, 16th March and also Tuesday. 20th April at 09.30 - 10.15 am, held on Zoom;
for an invitation contact Bill Offler.
World Day of Prayer Service: Friday 5th March at 10.30am will be zoomed from Brancepeth Castle Chapel. There is a booklet with the service liturgy prepared by the church in Vanuatu.
For a copy of the booklet and/or an invitation to the zoom service, contact Liz Gregory-Smith,
0191 3731554

Priest’s Letter

Readings: 1 Peter 3.18–22; Mark 1.9–15
Guilt can be a terrible thing. It makes us feel bad about ourselves and our self-worth takes a hammering. Sometimes this is unjustified and people are carrying a particular guilt, often for a long time that they shouldn’t be carrying. But sometimes we carry guilt because we have behaved wrong, done something wrong and the world of feeling guilty can be a difficult place to be.
You might have seen the film The Mission, made back in the 80’s. It was set in 18th century South America and based on historical events, we have the Catholic order of Jesuits from Spain and Portugal, trying to do two things. Save the native tribes from the slave trade and also share the Christian faith with them. One slave trader, Captain Mendoza, dislikes the Jesuits for this, but soon finds himself in a more personal situation he doesn’t like, when he finds out his beloved brother is seeing his fiancé. Captain Mendoza is hurt and angry and these emotions simmer away for a while. His anger then erupts and a sword fight between the two eventually breaks out, Captain Mendoza killing his little brother, the screams of his fiancé ringing in his ears.
He then seeks sanctuary ironically with the Jesuits and sits for six months in his cell, not speaking and hardly eating or drinking. His guilt is all consuming and he can’t see any way forward. As he says, ‘for me there is no redemption.’ Fr Gabriel however is by his side and persuades him not to be cowardly. There is a way forward and out of the mire of guilt and it’s one of penitence and faith that God will deliver.
And so with the Jesuits Captain Mendoza sets off to climb the great waterfalls to reach the tribes that live above the falls. He is literally weighed down by his past sins with a big kind of net attached to him, containing his past weaponry as a slave trader and a mercenary. His penance is a hard one both mentally and physically. Up and up they go, the climb more difficult for Mendoza. It’s dangerous and he could lose his life. But gradually as he ascends the waterfall, his sins are symbolically being drowned. He is ascending into a new and better life and eventually when he reaches the top of the falls, the ropes are cut free and the burden of guilt, the armoury he carried, plunges into the water.

His conscience with the help of the Jesuits had turned his gaze to things above and through the death and resurrection of Jesus he had been brought to God and reconciled to him.
We may not be Captain Mendoza in The Mission and done the things that he has done. But we can all at times in our lives find ourselves in a very low place. A place where our sins have put us. Guilt for the right sort of reasons however, can make us turn our gaze to another place, above and beyond the mire we find ourselves in. In our reading from 1 Peter we have the reference to Noah and his family saved through water as the ark rises above the sinfulness of a drowning world. And as Christians it’s a time to remember water, the water of our baptism when we died to Christ in order to rise and live with him. Our gospel reading today from Mark, reminds us that Jesus showed us that this is the way forward through baptism. Of course in our lives we are going to fall along the way. Of course we will get blown off course by the temptations of the world. Indeed for Jesus, baptism and the descent of the Holy Spirit as he came up out of the waters, was followed by his time in the wilderness. Here Jesus was tempted by the devil and was with the wild beasts! But the angels were by his side.
So now the penitential season of Lent has begun. Whatever place we find ourselves in at the moment; be it good, bad or indifferent. Or be it feeling rather down about being shut in with lockdown and not seeing family and friends; the forty days ahead of us if we use them to the best of our ability, are the way forward.
We don’t have to be locked in with the loneliness of our sins! Rather, conscious of our sinfulness it’s time to get moving and drag the burden of our sins behind us, so that when we reach the joy of the resurrection the ropes will be cut free and we will find that we are in a better place.
‘The kingdom of God has come near!’

Lent & Easter are an important part of the Christian calendar

The season of Lent lasts for forty days (not including Sundays). It is a time when Christians reflect and prepare for the celebrations of Easter. Some people fast, eat frugally or give up treats following the example of Jesus, who fasted for forty days in the wilderness.
People also give to charity, set aside time to study the bible and meet with other Christians to reflect on Jesus' life and prepare for the events of Holy Week and Easter.

Holy God, our lives are laid open before you:
rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son
bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Ashes made from palm crosses are blessed and are used to make crosses on people's foreheads. The custom dates back to the middle ages. Ash Wednesday services set the tone for Lent, with sombre readings and hymns and a focus on penitence (saying sorry for and turning away from sin).
Holy Week is the name given to the week beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday.

On Palm Sunday Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to crowds and cheers. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem has been celebrated on the Sunday before Easter since the first centuries of Christianity.
The crowds waved palm branches and covered his path with them. Churches remember this with crosses made from palm leaves and hold processions like the one that Jesus experienced - sometimes with a donkey, too!
Maundy Thursday is the day when we remember Jesus sharing the Last Supper with his disciples before his death.
Maundy Thursday gets its name from the Latin word mandare meaning to command. We remember Jesus' command: 'Love one another as I have loved you'. At the Last Supper Jesus washed the disciples' feet. Some churches recreate this act of service at special services and events.

This is not only an important reminder of the nature of Jesus, who we serve, but also the kind of service we are meant to demonstrate in our love for one another.
Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
It is a sombre day. Usually, churches meet, pray and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus willingly paid for all our sins.

Easter Vigil This is the first service of Easter and begins sometime on the evening of Holy Saturday
(the day before Easter Day).
It begins with a symbolic expectant waiting (usually outdoors around a fire) for the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning, and this is represented visually by a large Easter candle, which is lit from the fire and brought into a darkened church. This depiction of new life and light represents Jesus’ resurrection on the first Easter morning. The congregation then light their own candles from the Easter candle, representing their own new life as followers of Jesus. The service will contain a number of readings from the Bible, and also an opportunity for all the participants to renew the promises made at their baptism. The Easter Vigil is usually a quiet and thoughtful service, but one full of joy.

On Easter Sunday churches across England will celebrate because Jesus died for our sins and then rose again.
On the third day after being crucified, Jesus' tomb was found to be empty. He had risen from the dead. Life triumphs over death! The joy of resurrection is possible only because Christ endured death and conquered it.
Some churches celebrate Jesus' bringing life from death by making and blessing an Easter garden.
Could you make an Easter garden with your family at home?

How did our churches do financially in 2020?

With the Coronavirus epidemic and the lockdowns and closed services many churches have been struggling financially in 2020. With the PCC and Annual Church Meeting being postponed, it may be helpful for people to know how things went financially.

St. John’s: The tables show a summary of Expenditure and Income for 2020 and for 2019.

Summary of Expenditure    2020         2019
Total Mission                       14,854      22,769
Total Charities                          382           481
Total Running Expenses    8,528        8,689
Total Buildings                          281        1,121
Total Miscellaneous            2,043        7,804
Total Expenditure              26,089      40,864

The expenditure on Mission (services, parish share, organist, etc.) was less in 2020, mainly due to a delayed Parish Share payment in 2019 from 2018 and paying less Share than we said we would in 2020. Miscellaneous was less due to some unusual features in 2019. So overall our expenditure was much less in 2020.

Summary of Income           2020            2019
Total Giving                        16,426         16,396
Total Fundraising                     123          3,437
Total Charity Giving                 116             447
Total Fees                             6,759         8,993
Total Miscellaneous              3,038       10,682
Total Income                     26,463       39,954

Total Expenditure            £26,089  £40,864
Surplus or Deficit              + £374      -£910

Total Giving was slightly up in 2020. Collections were down a lot due to fewer services, but the amount given by cheques or through banks was greatly increased.

This is a wonderful achievement, for which we should thank God and the congregation

There was a big reduction in fundraising due to being unable to hold Fayres, etc.
Overall there was a surplus of £374.
However if we had paid the share we said we would there would have been a deficit of about £1,800.
£2,000 was paid in Feb. 2021 to make up part of the underpayment of share in 2020.
The cash assets were a reasonably healthy £12,565 at the end of 2020.

St. Catherine’s In 2020 we had a reroofing project and in 2019 a new shed project. These distort the figures a bit.
                                                       2020        2019
Total Giving                                   3,455       4,018
Other Income                               10,604       8,704
Total Income                              14,059     12,722

Total Expenditure                      14,651     12,599
Surplus or Deficit                         -£592     +£123

The giving was slightly down in 2020, but not much even though the church was closed for a large part of the year.
The other income was boosted by grants received for the roof in 2020 and the shed in 2019.
Overall there was a deficit in 2020 compared to a small surplus in 2019. At the end of 2021 the bank + cash in hand assets were a healthy £16,104

St. John’s Hall
Following recent announcements it looks like St John’s Hall cannot re-open until April. Announcements will be on Facebook page and Durham advertiser once classes can return.
St. John’s Hall are delivering hot meals to 39 people every week, original with a lottery grant over Christmas and now thanks to another lottery grant with Carrside youth club we are delivering weekly activities and well as John Street Deli’s two courses lunches . There are some places available on a Tuesday lunchtime so if you like a free lunch or would like to nominate someone please call Lesley on 07846542035.