Please come along on Sunday 16th December to sing Christmas carols for the residents. Meet at the church at 1.45pm.
Will take place in the parish room on Sunday 16th December 3.30-5.00pm (after carol singing in the Hallgarth Care Home). All children (big and small) are welcome to join us for fun and party games. Please bring something for a shared party tea.
In recent Advents, the parish raised enough money to populate a crib with cattle, goats, chickens, pigs and camels. This year we would like to raise money for birth certificates. A birth certificate costs £25, and is possibly the most valuable item a child could receive. When babies are born at home in poor, rural areas, it is too difficult to travel to register the birth. But a child without a birth certificate faces problems. In Zimbabwe, for example, children without a birth certificate cannot go to school, take exams, apply for an ID card, vote, or access many other basic essential services. Please support our appeal.
Please take a copy of ‘The Finchale Partnership at Christmas’ and join us for Advent and Christmas services over the next few weeks. If you’d like to find out more about what is happening in the Partnership, the minutes of the November meeting of the Partnership Development Group are now available on the noticeboard, and on the partnership webpages hosted at http://www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk/
Our seasonal film and pizza night is on Friday 21 December when we will be showing the 1947 triple Oscar winner ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ Doors open at 6:30pm and the screening starts at 7pm in the Parish Room. All are welcome to this free event. Please feel free to bring drinks or snacks to share.
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist is asked three times, ‘What must we do?’ John’s preaching has awakened the people’s conscience. He has shown them that they need to repent and change their lives, and so they come to him for guidance. John’s response is simple, practical and radical. Tax collectors and soldiers were despised as sinners, collaborators with the occupying Roman forces. John doesn’t dismiss their question, but simply tells them to be honest and not corrupt. More startlingly, anyone who has more than enough food or clothing is called to share what they have with the poor. John doesn’t tell his disciples to take on extra religious observances, or to withdraw from the society in which they live. Instead, he challenges the people to overcome injustice by acting justly.
Today is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, when we can begin to rejoice at the Good News of our redemption. The Messiah is coming soon. We prepare the way for Christ by repentance; and our repentance is expressed in simple and practical ways – by acting justly.
Durham Churches Together has its annual New Year’s Eve service in Durham Cathedral, and an ecumenical choir will lead the musical worship, including hymns and an anthem (John Rutter’s “The Lord bless you and keep you.”) The service is at 6.30pm on Monday 31st December, with a short rehearsal beforehand. There will also be a rehearsal on the afternoon of Sunday 30th at 3.00pm, at St Oswald’s Church. If you would like to sing for this service, please email David Harris on firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
• Voice part (SATB);
• Whether you’ve sung the Rutter before;
• Can you make the rehearsal on the 30th.
St Cuthbert’s Care is our diocesan charity that supports the most vulnerable members of our communities. This year’s Advent collection will be allocated to community centres, foodbanks and families and impoverished families. Www.stcuthbertscare.org.uk
Diocesan event for young people in school Years 5-8. Wednesday 19 December, 6.00-7.30pm at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Mill Lane, Hebburn NE31 2ET. Live music; praise and worship; invited speakers; refreshments and social time.
A day of reflection for healthcare and mental health professionals: Saturday 12 January 2019, 10am-3.15pm at The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, 2 Butcher Row, Limehouse, London, E14 8DS. Details at www.cbcew.org.uk under ‘Dept of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship.’
We are currently without an organist for Christmas Morning Mass. If you know of anyone, organist or pianist, who would be able to play at this Mass please ask them to contact Alison on 0191 3719184 or email@example.com
Also If there are any ex-choir members out there who would like to re-join for a short period and help us out over Advent/Christmas please get in touch!
Congratulations to the winner of the hamper. We still need the winner of yellow ticket 689 for a bottle of wine. Please contact Cliona Kear on 0191 386 3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org A very big “Thank You” to all who supported the raffle. In due course we will be getting some new flower arranging equipment. Please don’t miss the Christmas Tree Festival at Ushaw. St Cuthbert’s is represented there.
There will be no session this week. The first session of next term will be on Tuesday 15 January at 7:00pm. If you want to know more, contact Andy Doyle (0798 543 4185 or email@example.com)
Luke introduces the ministry of John the Baptist by saying that ‘the Word of God came to John in the wilderness.’ John’s message is one of repentance; a radical change of heart and mind. Like the Old Testament prophets who went before him, John challenges the people to turn back towards God with their whole hearts. The promise is that repentance will bring forgiveness; God in his mercy will set his people free from their sins. John’s prophetic word is addressed to us, too. In Advent, we are challenged to repent and turn back to God. By our repentance, we prepare the path for the Lord, clearing away the obstacles that stand in his way, so that we will be ready to welcome the Son of God when he comes.
The Finchale Partnership Service of Reconciliation will be held on Tuesday 18th December at 7.00pm, at St Joseph’s, Gilesgate.
“The attacks on Christians continue and the world remains totally silent. It is as if we have been swallowed up by the night”. So said an Iraqi Christian, sharing his story with Aid to the Church in Need. Today we welcome Mike Collins who will share with us some stories of hope, and of how this international Catholic charity is making a difference in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters. There will be range of products on sale after 10.00 Mass, some of which are made in Aleppo.
Today, the First Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new year. Advent is a season of hope, expectation and patient waiting, as we prepare to greet the new-born Christ. For Christians, Christmas is the revealing of God’s eternal plan for the world. The Son of God comes into our world as one of us. The prophet Jeremiah promises that God will send a leader who will practise honesty and integrity, in contrast to the corrupt and vicious leaders who have brought suffering to the people of Israel. Jesus warns his disciples that they will face ‘earth-shattering’ events; but they can stand firm, if they have faith in him.
We too may face earth-shattering events, in our own lives or in the wider world. We can stand with confidence, if our lives are founded on faith in Christ. In Advent, we are invited to renew our commitment to him. May the Lord be generous in increasing our love, so that we will be ready to meet the King when he comes.
With Christmas fast approaching please keep the Church flowers in mind. Any donations will be very welcome either through the Donation Box in the porch or directly with Cliona Kear. Would you like to support an arrangement in memory of a loved one, a birthday or any occasion special to you? Please contact Cliona Kear on 0191 386 3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Friday 7th December at St Mary’s, Hexham. Bus leaves St Cuthbert’s at 5.30pm, returning around 9.45pm. Cost £10 (£5 for students.) Please sign up on the noticeboard.