All posts by Parish Secretary

Thank You

To those who supported the parish’s fund-raising effort at last week’s Gala. After all the expenses have been taken into account, we made £450 which shall be shared between St Cuthbert’s Hospice and Helping Hands. Having the church open as a peaceful haven was also appreciated by many of our visitors.

Making the Lord Welcome

Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary, who, as we know from John’s Gospel, are dear friends. The two women make Jesus welcome, but Martha is so busy with serving the food that she becomes anxious and fretful, even falling out with her sister. Jesus gently reminds Martha that hospitality is not only about practical care for a guest. At that moment, what he needs is the loving welcome and attentive listening that Mary provides.

In the Church, we are called to practical service of our neighbour. There are many Marthas, who work tirelessly to meet the needs of others. But service begins with listening and reflection, in order to discern what our neighbour actually needs and wants, and what God is asking of us. To be true disciples of Christ, we need both Martha’s practical care for our neighbour and Mary’s spirit of listening and contemplation.

Sea Sunday

Today, the Church prays for all those who live and work at sea. Without them, we would not have most of the items we buy in the shops or online. There will be a retiring collection for the Apostleship of the Sea, the Church’s official maritime welfare agency, which provides both spiritual and practical support for seafarers. Please remember the work of the Apostleship of the Sea in your prayers, and support the collection generously. You can donate online at www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk

In the year since Sea Sunday the parish has sent 94 woolly hats to the Apostleship of the Sea chaplaincy at Sunderland Docks. Many of the seaman who visit our shores are from southern Asia and are woefully unprepared for the rigours of the North Sea either in summer or winter. The hats are a token of our concern for them and a thank you for the work they do for us in terms of supplies.

Holy Island

This years pilgrimage to Holy Island with Churches Together in Elvet & Shincliffe takes place on Saturday 20th July. A coach will leave the student union building at Dunelm House at 9am arriving back at Durham in the early evening having returned via Seahouses. The fares remain £12.50 for adults and £10.00 for children. Please book early to avoid disappointment. More details are on the poster in the narthex where booking forms are also available.

Love without Limits

Jesus, asked by a lawyer, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ reminds the man of God’s commandment to love our neighbour. The lawyer, in response, tries to narrow the scope of the commandment. Who is my neighbour? To whom am I obliged to show care and compassion? In a word, what are the limits of love?

Jesus answers the lawyer’s question with the beautiful parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan is moved with compassion for the distressed traveller, and cares for him in the most practical and generous way. He does this in spite of the ancient animosity between Samaritans and Jews. Jesus has turned the lawyer’s question around, from ‘Who is my neighbour?’ to ‘How can I be a good neighbour?’ And his answer is: a good neighbour is one who shows the same unstinting love as the Good Samaritan. Jesus himself will give us the example of love without limits, when he gives his life for us on the Cross. As disciples of Christ, we are called to set no limits to our love, but to be neighbours to everyone.

Messengers of Peace

The prophet promises peace for Jerusalem. After the time of exile, the Jewish people can return to their own land, and can hope for stability and prosperity. The people of Jesus’ time probably hoped for the same things, but the reality was a struggle for survival: subsistence farming, heavy taxation and constant unrest, which would be brutally suppressed by the Roman occupiers. Jesus sent out his seventy-two disciples ‘like lambs among wolves,’ with none of the things that they would normally rely on – money, possessions or even shoes. All that the disciples carried with them was their faith in Jesus. He sent them out with a message of peace; not a peace imposed by the edge of the sword, but the peace of God’s kingdom, brought about by God’s mercy. Their lives would be a witness to the peace of the kingdom. Today, that peace is needed as much as it ever was, and the Lord sends us, his disciples, out into the world to witness.

Cardinal Hume Memorial Lecture – St Mary’s Cathedral – Thursday 11 July.

The diocese is delighted to announce that Catherine Pepinster, former editor of the Tablet will deliver the sixth Cardinal Hume Memorial Lecture in the Cathedral on Thursday 11th July at 7.00pm. The Lecture is entitled ‘A migrant, pilgrimage people – how the Catholic revival shaped the Church today’ and will focus on examining the kind of the church the Catholic Church became after emancipation. It was very much a Church of migrants, especially Irish, in the early days, and it was as much focused on education as worship. Catherine will also look at how churches and schools served the mostly migrant church and how that has given Catholicism a particular character in the UK. Cardinal Hume will come into because of his impact on the church at the national level and how important he thought education was, but also how his interest in serving the homeless is typical of the Catholic Church in this country – a very strong feeling for those struggling in society.

Baptism

Katherine Mary Glasspool will be baptised on Saturday 6th July at 11.15am, after Mass, which will be celebrated at 10.30am this week. Everyone is welcome to the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, and to refreshments afterwards in the Parish Room. Our congratulations to Katherine and her family.

Flawed Heroes

Today we celebrate two great apostles: Peter, the rock on which the Church was built and its first leader; and Paul, the preacher who brought the Good News of Christ to the Gentiles. Each of these men was chosen by God to be an example and an inspiration to the Church throughout its history. And yet, the New Testament shows both Peter and Paul to be real, flawed human beings. Peter recognised Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God, but he feared what this would mean, and tried to dissuade the Lord from taking the road that led to his crucifixion. Paul was sometimes hot-headed and outspoken, and in his letters he vividly describes his own struggles and anxieties for the Church. Each played a vital part in the building up of the Church; each gave his life for Christ, in Rome. God chose Peter and Paul, with all their flaws, to do remarkable things by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we feel discouraged by our own sins and failures, we should remember that God has chosen us, too, to do wonderful things.