St. John’s Church, Brandon &
St. Catherine’s Church, New Brancepeth
All Services are suspended for the time being, although services
may restart soon – updates will be on the websites below.
At present Fr. Carl will celebrate the Holy Eucharist
in his home
at 9.45 am on Sunday mornings.
The service will be available on Zoom.
Contact Fr. Carl to get an invitation.
The normal Sunday services are:
St. John’s - 9.45 am Holy Eucharist
St. Catherine’s - 8:45 am Holy Eucharist
Revd. 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 (Churchwarden) – 3739927;
Liz - 3731554
Funerals at Crematorium
27th May - Alan Arthur Lukins
28th May - Audrey Botterill
2nd June - Brian Franklin
4th June - Florence Hudspeth
Many of the usual services and events are cancelled for the
As the lock-down is eased it may be possible
to have some more events or services.
These will be posted on the website and communicated
by phone to those not on-line.
St. John’s Open for private prayer,
This is likely to change!
Prayer for Our Churches: Tuesday, 21st July, 09.30 - 10.15
Also Tuesday. 18th August, 09.30 - 10.15 am.
At present these will be held on Zoom, for an invitation contact
Bill Offler -
(DH7 Churches Together Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org)
and Annual Parochial Church Meeting:
These have been postponed – the APCM should have been
held before the end of April according to church rules! These
rules have been relaxed so it will be held later, probably
in the Autumn.
of the future? Please pray about the future plans
for our churches as we consider re-opening our churches for
worship as we come out of lock-down. Remember also future
working with -
St Paul’s, Waterhouses as well as St. Luke’s,
Ushaw Moor along with St. John’s, Neville’s Cross,
St. Brandon’s Brancepeth and St. Edmund’s, Bearpark.
If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions please contact
Fr. Carl, one of the church wardens, Carolyn or Liz.
by Fr. Carl
Well more and more change is in the air as we come out of
lockdown, although I think we all know we’re not out
of the woods yet and in these uncertain times things can quickly
change one way or another.
Let’s pray that things continue to go in the right direction!
But yes, it’s been a strange and challenging time for
all of us
and still is really. One thing we can do already though is
The past three months or so has been a long time for many
of us to be away from the life we normally live and we welcome
change with caution. But what about the change we underwent
How has that been for us?
Many of us have and perhaps still do miss family, friends
and more normal social interaction. Variety even.
That lack of being able to go somewhere and do things,
whilst at the same time maybe counting our blessings and knowing
there are those near and far who are worse off than ourselves.
For our worshipping community, the closure of our church buildings
back in March was a bit if a blow. The first Sunday of proper
lockdown was strange. We were getting into the rhythm of Lent
and it was also Mothering Sunday and there I presided on the
Sunday morning all alone at church at the Lady Chapel altar.
That was the last time, as from then on even clergy could
not enter our churches.
So what next?
As well as my normal routine saying the daily offices, morning
and evening prayer, something I always value very much, Sunday
mornings for a few weeks saw Carolyn and I doing Morning Prayer
together, setting aside the coffee table as some sort of sacred
But we wanted to do more!
Between the three churches, keeping in contact with folk by
phone, text, email and on the church website and Facebook
has been important. Perhaps at least some of us who were able
or happy to, might even join together for worship in a way
we’d not imagined. First Carolyn and I looked at the
possibility of joining people together through Teams which
many people in work situations use for meetings. Well that
didn’t work. On Easter Day together we recorded the
Holy Eucharist from home. The recording went well, but trying
with some very able people to put it on the website or Facebook,
But then we discovered Zoom which enabled us from the first
Sunday after Easter Day to worship with folk from across the
two parishes and three churches. Yes, on computer, laptop,
IPad or phone we could see each other and respond in worship
and in fellowship.
This has proved popular as more and more have signed up to it
and been part of our Holy Eucharist as we have joined together
in spiritual communion. In spiritual communion we remember that
‘the church of which we are members is not defined by
the walls of the building, but by the Body of Christ of which
we are members.’ Yes, Zoom, nerve wracking at first, being
church in a different way with the anxieties Carolyn and I have
shared of hoping it would go alright, has proved to be very
fruitful and many thanks to those who have been able to be a
part of it. Transforming our living room into a chapel each
Sunday morning and on Ascension Day has felt special.
And thinking of our wider church fellowship I know others of
you have kept Sunday’s and perhaps every day special by
setting aside quietly, time of prayer and bible reading. Maybe
following a daily guide of reading and reflections or just creating
something which has felt right for you.
Many of you have also rung around or messaged others, as a pastoral
church that cares for its members.
Many of us will have missed our links with the wider community
and not being able to link up as we normally do. I know it’s
been difficult for those with loved ones in care homes
and not being able to go in since even before lockdown.
And then there are our schools, which we as a church reach out
to in different ways. For a number of years now, members of
St Catherine’s have done ‘Open the Book’ at
New Brancepeth Primary School, where stories from the bible
are told and acted in a lively and interactive way. This has
been a ministry I’ve felt blessed to be a part of. Sadly
the school hall has gone quiet in this way the last three months
or so and we look forward to one day being in there again. Carolyn
and I did however decide to make it happen in some way during
this unusual time. Firstly it was with grandchildren on face
time on the IPad. Then we graduated to Zoom on the laptop including
children from church and one or two others known to family.
This has also proved to be joyful and interactive with as much
sharing and friendship going on as the telling of the bible
stories themselves. And the children, well they seem to be doing
most of it now!
So yes, there are so many things we can reflect about as we
ponder on these months of lockdown due to Covid19. And no doubt
more reflections will be to come. You all have your own stories,
your ups and downs; times of joy, times of sadness, times of
Carolyn and I pray that you all stay safe as we continue through
these changing and uncertain times, in which we continue to
wonder and explore how we will be a living and breathing church
that embraces ‘old normals’ and ‘new normals’
Some reflections by church members of this lock-down
zoom meetings are very good.
I felt somewhat of connection there with members of our churches,
with faces we knew and didn’t know.
The short time we had can be reassuring to those with anxiety
problems, like myself, that in these unprecedented times
we are united together in prayer with our priest Fr. Carl,
and that we are still out there fighting this together;
the church hasn’t gone forever
I have very much appreciated having the Sunday sermon on the
It gives me a chance to reflect on what it means and how it
applies to me.
Fr. Carl started to prepare his sermons from Maundy Thursday
through the Easter Season to Pentecost and Trinity Sunday
and I was privileged to upload them to the website for all
On Facebook, the sermons were viewed by up to 200 people each
Future links to the Sunday sermons and readings will continue
to be uploaded to the website and can be read on Facebook
Preparing the website, reading through the weekly readings
and choosing an appropriate graphic and hymn helped me
to be aware of our church year and keep me mindful of all
those people who have shared with our Holy Eucharist over
Joy and sadness, fears and humour, missing family,
hearing and seeing the spring in wonder, but knowing of suffering
out of my reach.
Maybe this mismatch in life experience can lead me to walk
more lightly day by day before the One
who, I believe, holds all things past and future in love.
At the start of lock-down I offered myself to God and asked
It has been a time of blessing, almost a ‘conversion’
relying on God’s mercy and love and seeing new things
and being more aware.
Ps 23 has meant a lot to me, ‘He restores my soul’.
I pray for all of us and that as a church we will listen
I miss my church, I miss my friends
Because of this awful bug.
But the thing I really miss the most
Is a Nana and grandson hug!
Reflections from Churches Together in England
“May the Archangel Gabriel, patron of communications
continue to pray for us!"
Monsignor Paul Smith,
Parish priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford
“Being salt is not about spreading our name, but it
is about spreading the name of Jesus... If there is anything
positive to come out of this pandemic it is that all Christ’s
followers would positively touch and impact lives.”
Pastor Ian Sweeney,
President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the British
“It was very upsetting to hear the closed doors of the
Church being hit and banged by the people, who couldn’t
understand or accept why they were left outside … or
to see certain others “attend” the Service through
the Church window.”
Fr. Anastasios D. Salapata
Parish Priest of St. Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Community
“Hello, my name is Kai Daley...Covid-19 didn’t
just affect my education - that same week that my education
ended, I was scheduled to be baptised. I was devastated, but
now I have spiritually grown closer to God...so close I guess…
the Lord works in mysterious ways.”
Kai Daley from the New Life Wesleyan Church in Handsworth,
“The beginning of this pandemic brought a myriad of
questions. How we will still be church if we cannot physically
meet? How will congregation members be affected by this? How
will we continue to fulfil God’s mission here?"
Rev Penny Marsh, Pioneer Baptist Minister for Ebbsfleet
"The pandemic storm, otherwise christened as COVID-19,
has become a beacon allowed by God [John 3: 27] to shake the
whole world..." "Weekly income has fallen by 80%..."
"...We also suffered the death of our Church Leader,
who at the time of writing was yet to be buried."
Two churches from our Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum
“The church needs to restore the practice of Lamentations
as a normal appropriate spiritual response… a time of
lamenting for the grief and sorrow that the Covid-19 plague
has wrought on the land and particularly on those from the
Rev Alton P. Bell,
Chair for the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation
Carl’s Sermon for Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-21; John 20:
to all of you. I hope you’re keeping well and safe?
Throughout Lockdown, we have continued through Lent, celebrated
Easter, the Ascension and today we celebrate Pentecost, when
we recall the Holy Spirit descending or being breathed upon
As Christians, Pentecost is something we should get quite
excited about, because without the Holy Spirit there would
be no sacraments, no Christians, no Church. If there was a
church it would probably be a few frightened, inward looking
people who gathered together in secret. The gospel wouldn’t
have got very far in the world. In fact, we would as this
small insignificant body, be a bit like a group who are orphaned
from the Jesus they love, taking comfort from the stories
of Jesus in the gospels, but at the same time feel a bit lost
without the physical presence of Jesus to guide us and lead
Thankfully, this is not so.
The descent of the Holy Spirit upon those Apostles which we
hear about in our reading from Acts was an act of empowerment
from God, to if you like, kick start those first Christians
into action, so that they were able to do God’s work
on this earth and establish
the church as the Body of Christ.
The Spirit of Pentecost was the electric current to get things
moving and it happened in a dramatic way.
As we hear,
‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together
in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound
like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire
house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire
appeared among them and a tongue rested on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to
in other languages as the spirit gave them ability.’
The speaking in different languages was an indication that
the church would become a universal church, which the disciples
would take to all nations, peoples and tongues.
They now had a strength, power and confidence which they never
could have imagined only a few minutes before.
it didn’t just stop there. Throughout the ages the Holy
Spirit has given God’s people the boldness and courage
to live the Christian faith and tell the world about Jesus,
in all manner of ways.
carries on as the church continues to tell the world about
Jesus today, through Facebook, through websites, through YouTube,
through Zoom and in more traditional ways, some of which is
absent at the moment with church buildings being locked.
Yes our churches are locked and we naturally feel sad that
such holy places are inaccessible. We desire to enter that
building again. When the day comes it will be good. But of
course we must remember that much of what we are about as
Christians is living with the spirit of going out, being sent
Jesus says to the disciples in our gospel reading from John.
‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so I send
you.’ And then he breathes on them and says. ‘Receive
the Holy Spirit.’
Next time we are gathered together as church whether it’s
on Zoom or when we are next gathered together in the church
let’s really feel in our hearts those words the priest
at the end of the Eucharist. ‘Go in peace, to love and
serve the Lord.’
And as we go out into our lives and the lives of others, in
whatever fashion, whether it’s two metres apart or on
Facetime, or on the phone, let’s remember that we are
not alone. The power of the Spirit is with us as the words
from another part of John’s Gospel remind us. In John
14 Jesus promises another helper to his disciples when he
‘If you love me keep my commandments. And I will pray
to the Father and he will give you another Helper that he
may abide with you forever,
the Spirit of Truth’
Jesus goes on to say.
‘for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not
leave you as orphans,
I will come to you.’
Encouraging words that remind us that we are not separated
from Jesus as orphans. For his ways live in us in the Spirit
whose energy drives us out, and pushes us away from any fears
and trepidations that might hold us back.
So we might too, feel the breath of Jesus and go where he
sends us! Amen