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Brandon Parish Magazine
September/October 2020
St. John’s Church, Brandon &
St. Catherine’s Church, New Brancepeth

  

Services have been taking place in St. John’s since July 5th.
Services are planned to start at St. Catherine’s from Sunday 13th September.
The Eucharist services will be shorter than normal with no singing or sermon and as with other Covid 19 problems, this may be subject to change, especially when the winter flu season begins.
Details are:
St. John’s: Sundays – 9.45 am Holy Eucharist
Wednesdays – 9.00 am Holy Eucharist

St. Catherine’s Sundays from 13th Sept.
Sunday – 8.45 am Holy Eucharist
Thursday– 9.30 am Holy Eucharist
then 10.00 to 11.00 am Church open for private prayer

Revd. Carl Peters: The Clergy House, Sawmill Lane, Brandon,
Durham, DH7 8NS. Tel: 0191 6803875, revpeters28@gmail.com

Other Contact Telephone Numbers:

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

Website http://www.brandonparish.org.uk/Welcome.htm
https://www.facebook.com/StJohnTheEvangelistChurchBrandon
https://www.facebook.com/Stjohnschurchhallmeadowfield
https://www.facebook.com/pg/StCatherinesChurchNewBrancepeth

From the Registers

Funerals at St John’s
22nd July - Trevor Royston Myers
31st July - Beryl Troman
Funerals at Crematorium
19th August - James ‘Jim’ Edward Wanless ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Special Services/Events

Events will be posted on the Website and communicated by phone to those not online.
Also Fr. Carl’s Sermons will be posted on the Website and Facebook.

Thursdays (from 17th September) at St. Catherine’s:
Fr. Carl will say Morning Prayer at 8.45 am before the Eucharist.
All are welcome to join him.

Zoom Holy Eucharist on Sunday, 6th September at 11.45 am.
Also it may be held for special occasions; contact Fr. Carl for details.

Harvest Festival: This will be held on Sunday 27th September
Holy Eucharist at both St. Catherine’s and St. John’s.
Our collections will be given to Farm Africa (see article)
and any gifts of non-perishable food taken to the Foodbank.
Prayer for Our Churches: Tuesday, 15th September, 09.30 - 10.15 am.
Also Tuesday. 20th October, 09.30 - 10.15 am. At present these will be held on Zoom; for an invitation contact Bill Offler (DH7 Churches Together Secretary,) williamoffler@outlook.com

PCC and Annual Parochial Church Meeting:
The next PCC meeting will be on Wednesday, 23rd September at 6.30 pm in St. John’s.
The main item will be the Diocesan ‘Guided Pledge’ proposal to replace the current Share.
The postponed APCM be held at a date in October.

Fr. Carl’s Sermon for 26th July; Matt 13:31-33, 44-52

Lockdown as a consequence of Covid19 might have felt like a long time for a lot of people. At its strictest whilst many of us might have reminded ourselves that we were comfortable, well fed and sheltered (sadly some are not) we nonetheless may have felt loneliness, frustration and boredom. We may have felt a sadness at the loss of life as it was before. There is still an element of that now and for those who have lost their jobs or are living under that threat, life definitely is not as it was before. Sadly for those who have lost loved ones from the pandemic or are perhaps recovering from having the virus badly, life most certainly won’t feel like it was before. It’s been a hard time for those who had to close their businesses; shops, hairdressers, sandwich bars/café’s for the workers maybe and pubs. I felt very sad passing such places, maybe on daily exercise or driving back from doing a funeral at the crem on a very quiet road when lock down was at its height. Their patience must be wearing thin!
But patience is something we do have to have in such times. Hard as it might be. What’s helped a lot of us during this difficult time is just seeing signs of better things to come; being able to drive a bit further for a walk at a beauty spot maybe, or eventually seeing family or a friend you hadn’t seen for months. Step by step. For a lot of us it’s been great to be back in church again, albeit not quite as it was before. Waiting for our church buildings to unlock has certainly required patience.
In our gospel reading from Matthew today we see exciting signs of better things to come. Not the coming out of lockdown, but rather the coming of God’s Kingdom. Jesus is making the point in the parables that God’s Kingdom has small beginnings, but it has begun. For those who want to part of that kingdom in all its fullness, they just have to wait and be patient.
As we hear: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown, it is the greatest of all the shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make their nests in its branches.’
In truth it might not actually be the greatest of all shrubs, but I believe the mustard plant can grow up to eight to ten feet. And to think it started as a small seed! Similarly we hear Jesus say:
‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’

The leaven or yeast is worked into the dough to make it rise but it has small beginnings. Indeed Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians. ‘Do you not know that a little leaven ferments the whole lump of dough?’
In both these parables patience is required. Especially in the first one. There are small beginnings and the end product doesn’t happen straight away. Certainly the farmer who planted the mustard seed and the birds that eventually nested in its branches had to wait. Encouraged no doubt by the signs that sprung from a once hidden seed. Such parables are encouragement for those who are looking out for the coming of God’s kingdom. That kingdom has already begun Jesus is saying. It might be a bit hidden at the moment, but just watch it grow! Indeed one day it will grow so big that people from all nations will nest in its branches!
Jesus wants us to know that the kingdom of heaven is worth more than anything our world can offer and it’s worth sacrificing what we have for the very sake of it, as the parable of the treasure hidden in the field shows us. As does the parable of the merchant who is searching for fine pearls:
‘on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all he had and bought it.’

We might think sometimes that we don’t see enough of God in our world. ‘Where are you God? Can’t you make a bit more of a difference? Show your face a bit?’ But if we have patience and open our eyes a bit, we might just see those signs of growth. Those signs of better things to come.
Indeed, what better place to look than in the gospels with the ministry of Jesus. His teaching, his healing, his delivering of people from their old life to a new life. This is an encouragement to us, that in Jesus’s intervention in the world, the kingdom of heaven has truly begun.
So may our hearts be filled with excitement as we search for that kingdom above all kingdoms. A kingdom that brings new life and brings us better things than we had before.
Even the things we thought were really good and yearned for again. So much so, we might not feel so sad at the loss of life as it was before. Because this one will be better.
If we look really deep, we might even discover the seed of heaven hidden in our very own hearts and then just feel it grow from there. Patiently and excitedly. Step by step.
Amen.

Our Harvest Collections will be given to Farm Africa

The communities we serve are currently facing an unprecedented level of disruption and uncertainty.
The twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the desert locust invasion pose severe threats to livelihoods and food security across eastern Africa.
The rural communities we work with need our support more than ever. We stand ready to maintain the momentum of our work driving agricultural and environmental change and improving lives wherever safely possible.
Curfews, restrictions, and social distancing requirements made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic are restricting our ability to reach communities and deliver training. However, we continue to operate wherever possible, helping farmers to overcome the additional struggles they are facing in accessing labour, inputs and markets.
Meanwhile, new locust swarms have started to re-emerge in the greater Horn of Africa region, particularly in Kenya and southern Ethiopia. These new swarms are coinciding with the beginning of the long rains and the planting season, posing an even greater threat to food security than earlier this year, when crops were already mature.
Crises such as these highlight how valuable our work is to build the resilience of vulnerable communities.

Everything that Farm Africa does to help those living in rural areas increase their yields, incomes and savings, and protect their natural resources, means that they will be better able to absorb and adapt to the shocks brought by the pandemic and the locust invasion.
During this period, your donations are more valuable than ever for the people we work with. Please donate today

St. John’s Hall Meadowfield
St. John’s Hall is slowly opening to the public.
Some fitness classes are starting again
but places have to book so no drop in’s for now.
The hall has hand sanitisers in a number of places.
Masks must be worn when entering and can only be removed once exercise class starts.
Monday: Pilates from 12.15 pm.
Please message Paul Wilson 07804541181
Tuesdays: Dianne Ross Dance Academy from 8.15 pm.
Please contact Dianne Ross 0191 3863421
Wednesdays: 9.30 am Over 55 Fitness with
Paul 07804 4541181
10.45 am Dance Fit with Trudy 0778 7419022
5.30 pm Pilates with Paul 07804541181
Thursday: Beginner Dance Class and Improvers .
Please contact Dianne Ross
Returning in September: Hartbeeps on Tuesday morning, contact Abby on 07534 018440
Martial Arts at 7 pm, please contact Alistair 07984 154340
Swing Fit on Thursdays morning,
please contact Jo Lee at info@lindy-jazz.co.uk
The guiding groups hope to return but are waiting for guidance.
The age concern luncheon club and the history Club
will be the last to return due to the age group
and amount of people who attend.
There will be no table top sales or birthday parties
for the time being due to numbers.
For updates please see
Facebook page stjohnshallmeadowfield
or contact Lesley Baxter: 07846542035.

A Prayer Suggestion if we feel strange in our masked, sanitised, registered, socially distanced time of worship!

As I wear this mask Lord Jesus,
I pray for those who are sick in hospital or at home.
As I sit socially distanced, I pray for those who must remain isolated and others who live in fear.
I offer my sanitised hands for the children and young people returning to school.
May they grow in body mind and Spirit and know your loving hands on their lives.
As I register my name I say thank you for all unknown to me but known by name to you, Lord God, who serve you in helping one another through disasters of every kind.
In Jesus’ name,

Amen

What of the future?

Please pray about the future plans for our churches
as we re-open our churches for worship
as we come out of lockdown
Remember also future working with St Paul’s, Waterhouses as well as St. Luke’s along with St. John’s Neville’s Cross, St. Brandon’s Brancepeth and St. Edmund’s Bearpark.

Pray specifically for:

• Children and students as they return to schools in our parish.
We are not able to re-start ‘Open the Book’ at New Brancepeth Primary yet.
• The Toddler club which had been held in St. John’s Hall.
• Peter Pathikrit who has been on placement with us for the last eight weeks.
Pray for Peter as goes forward in September to a selection conference.
• The PCC meeting on 23rd Sept., especially any finance proposals.
• Fr. Carl as he leads us into the future.

Guided Pledge – Giving to the Diocese, a proposal

(Oh no! not more about money!) Actually giving money is an important part of being a Christian – ‘God loves a cheerful giver’
This is an outline so everyone knows about it and can pray. There are four main reasons for a change from the present method whereby parishes offer an amount:
1. 2020 Diocesan budget has a deficit of £750,000 before Covid-19, now expected to be £1 - £2 million.
2. Falling levels of total pledge - the graph illustrates this:
3. PCC’s do not have any guidelines to base their pledge on.
4. Current system lacks equity.
The proposed system aims to be halfway between the present system where pledges are set by parishes with little reference to the Diocesan need and the old system (before 2011) where the share was determined centrally and acted rather like a tax.
The main features are:
• Parishes decide the pledge with a reference point provided by the Diocese.
• The reference point will be calculated from the total required from pledges.
• It will be calculated using four elements: the parish clergy (or fraction if shared); the congregation size and parish poulation; the financial resources of the parish, income and reserves; the deprivation index (how poor or rich the local population is). The details are fairly complex!
• The reference point will be limited to 65% maximum of parish income.
The proposal will be put to Diocesan Synod on 7th September, and if approved figures will be sent out mid-September.

Please pray for the diocesan finances
and also those of our own churches