Hold Your Heads High

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.

The Finchale Partnership – Advent Service

Please join us at Ushaw College for our Partnership Advent Service on Sunday 2nd December, at 4.00pm.  During the service we’ll be lighting the first candle of the Advent wreath in the magnificent surroundings of St Cuthbert’s chapel.  There’ll be drinks afterwards, and a treasure trail for the children. We’ll be taking a collection for the college (and please be generous as you will also have the opportunity to see the Christmas tree festival while you are there).

Justice and Peace invitation

The Outreach Committee of the Finchale Partnership is seeking to meet with all Justice and Peace groups within the partnership, and anyone else who has in interest in justice and peace issues, with a view to learning from each other and investigating ways we might work more effectively together across the partnership. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 06 December, from 7:00pm at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Esh Winning. Please contact Fr Robert Riedling at St Patrick’s, Langley Moor with any enquiries (langleymoor.stpatrick@rcdhn.co.uk  / (0191) 378 4486).

Truth? What is Truth?

Jesus stands before Pilate: an accused criminal, facing the judge. Jesus describes himself as a witness to the truth. Pilate’s cynical reply is, ‘Truth? What is that?’ For Pilate, the reality is power, and truth is negotiable. Jesus has come into the world to witness to the truth; the truth that, through his sacrifice, our sins are forgiven and death is overcome. Jesus and Pilate are speaking different languages.

Pilate’s
attitude seems to prevail in today’s world. Though we have access
to more information than ever before, there often seems to be little
respect for the truth. The voices of the poor are drowned out by
those of the wealthy and powerful. Today’s Feast of Christ the King
reminds us that those who exercise worldly power are answerable to a
higher authority. God’s kingdom will not pass away. The truth will
prevail.

HM Prison Durham: A message from the Lay Chaplain

Having HMP Durham as your close neighbour is doubtless a constant call on your generosity as a Parish, and I am appealing for your support again. Many of our men are desperate to engage in some way with their Faith and foster a relationship with the Lord. One of the ways we can support this is by creating a welcoming, accessible and accepting environment in our St Cuthbert’s Chapel. The Chapel itself is beautiful, peaceful and a place of sanctuary in an often brutal environment. We do use the space for Bible Study Groups as well as the weekend Liturgies and I’m looking to see if we can buy some more accessible materials to use with the men, many of whom are illiterate. To that end, I would be grateful for donations so that we can build a varied resource bank to fully include all of our men who are seeking to continue their Faith Journey by learning more about the Good News. (To donate, speak to Fr Andrew.)

Preparing our Young People for Confirmation

The parishes of the Finchale Partnership have agreed that we will work together to prepare our young people for Confirmation.  A training session, around the use of the diocesan programme, has been organised.  This is open to those already involved in Confirmation programmes, as well as those interested in getting involved.  The training will be led by Father Michael McCoy, beginning at 7:15pm, on Thursday 06 December, at St. Cuthbert’s, Old Elvet, Durham City.  Light refreshments will be available and the session should last around one hour.  Preferably, email the parish office to confirm your attendance, by Monday 03 December, or feel free to turn up on the evening.

Clergy Training Fund

The annual appeal for the Diocesan Clergy Training Fund remains open for another week. This is the sole means of supporting the formation of men training for the Priesthood and the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Your kindness will ensure that our Diocese has the resources to train ministers for the Church both today and into the future. The fund also supports ongoing formation for clergy.

Youth Sunday Collection

Next weekend we celebrate Youth Sunday. Bishop Seamus and the Youth Ministry Trust wish to thank you for your generous contributions to last year’s collection and for all you have done throughout the year to support our young people on their faith journey. There will be a collection next week to support the work of YMT. Envelopes are available if you wish to Gift Aid your donation.

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