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
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
Carl Peters: The Clergy House, Sawmill Lane, Brandon,
Durham, DH7 8NS. Tel: 0191 6803875, email@example.com
Other Contact Telephone Numbers
St. John’s: David (Churchwarden) – 3789718; Carolyn
St. Catherine’s: Joe – 3739927; Liz – 3731554
at St John’s church
14 Jan 2021 - Sadie Scorer
27 Jan 2021 - Stewart Shippen
1 Feb 2021 - Rosa Tobin
at St Catherine’s church
Jan 2021 - Keith Temple
19 Jan 2021 - Doris Carr
29 Jan 2021 - Arthur Carr
3 Feb 2021 - Valerie Maymen
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
(DH7 Churches Together Secretary)
Prayer for Our Churches: Tuesday, 16th March
and also Tuesday. 20th April at 09.30 - 10.15 am, held on
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
For a copy of the booklet and/or an invitation to the zoom
service, contact Liz Gregory-Smith, email@example.com/
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
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.
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!’
& Easter are an important part of the Christian calendar
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.
PRAYER FOR LENT
Holy God, our lives are laid open before you:
rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your
bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord
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
Holy Week is the name given to the week beginning
on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
did our churches do financially in 2020?
John’s: The tables show a summary of Expenditure
and Income for 2020 and for 2019.
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.
Summary of Expenditure 2020
Total Running Expenses 8,528
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
Summary of Income
Total Charity Giving
Surplus or Deficit
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.
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.
Catherine’s In 2020 we had a reroofing project
and in 2019 a new shed project. These distort the figures
Surplus or Deficit
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.