Diocesan Church Music Association

The Diocesan Church Music Association have set up a link on their page of the Diocesan website, asking parish musicians to sign up to give them an idea of the resources around the Diocese and to keep people up to date with news of workshops etc.

If you would like to sign up the form can be found on the Diocesan website, clicking on ‘Departments’, then ‘Liturgy’, then Diocesan Church Music Association. Scrolling down will reveal a paragraph headed ‘Join our mailing list’.

The Power of Faith

In today’s Gospel, Jesus presents two challenges to his apostles. He tells them that a tiny amount of faith – the size of a mustard seed – can accomplish things that seem impossible. Then the Lord reminds his apostles that, although they have been chosen for a role of leadership in his Church, they are no more than God’s instruments. All that they achieve is brought about by God’s grace, and they are merely servants of God’s people.

Christian faith is not only belief that the teachings of the Church are true: even more importantly, faith is belief in Jesus as the Son of God. That faith in Christ can transform us. The apostles’ faith was found wanting when Jesus faced his Passion and death, but afterwards, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they accomplished amazing things in spreading the Gospel. As disciples of Christ, we can achieve remarkable things too, with just a little faith. But we are merely servants, and all that we achieve is God’s gift.

Blessed John Henry Newman

An afternoon celebrating the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman will be held by Tyneside Newman Circle on Saturday 12 October at St. Mary’s, Cullercoats. The timetable will be:

2.00pm Fr. Andrew Downie, “Newman and the Development of Doctrine”
2.45pm Prof. Terry Wright, “Newman and the Bible”
3.30pm Refreshments
4.00pm Dr. Sheridan Gilley, “Newman and Holiness”
5.00pm Mass

The event is free and everyone is welcome, but if you wish to attend, please contact Prof. Terry Wright on Terry.Wright@ncl.ac.uk or 0191 274 8653.

Cafod Harvest Fast Day

CAFOD Harvest Fast Day is this Friday, 4th October. This Fast Day, CAFOD asks us to fast, pray and give, so we can extend the hand of friendship to the world’s poorest people. Fabiano’s village in rural Uganda has been devastated by drought. Every day, children would trek miles for water, risking their education – and safety. Donations from parishioners across England and Wales helped install a solar powered water pump in the village. Now Fabiano and his friends can collect water quickly and safely. On Family Fast Day, CAFOD invites us to eat a simple meal for lunch or dinner and give the money we save to help children like Fabiano. Please take a Fast Day envelope and give generously.

The rich man and Lazarus

Luke tells us that the Pharisees ‘loved money.’ They saw their wealth as a sign of God’s favour. With this parable, Jesus challenges, indeed, reverses the Pharisees’ view. At the banquet in God’s kingdom, the last will be first; the poor man Lazarus sits in the place of honour, with Abraham. The rich man addresses Abraham as ‘Father,’ but he has not lived as a true son of Abraham. He has been indifferent to the suffering of the poor man at his gate, ignoring the teaching of Moses and the prophets that the rich are obliged to act justly and to show concern for the poor. Now the rich man is cut off by an unbridgeable gulf from the joys of heaven – just as he was apparently remote from the sufferings of Lazarus in life. The parable warns us not to think that we can remain secure in worldly wealth and luxury, but to open our eyes to the suffering of our brothers and sisters, and to respond with care and compassion.

The Source

Our diocesan event aimed at young people in school Year 9 and up (but everyone is welcome.) Praise and Worship, prayer, live music, faith sharing, social time and refreshments. The Source takes place at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, this Wednesday, 2nd October, from 7.00–8.45pm.

Finchale Partnership open afternoon

People often say they would like to know more about the other parishes and churches in the partnership. The last of this year’s series of open afternoons is on Sunday, 6th October, from 2.00 – 4.00pm, at St. Joseph’s, Gilesgate, Durham, one of the churches in Durham Martyrs parish. The people of Durham Martyrs are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across the partnership to look around, chat over refreshments, and learn a little about the parish. Everyone is welcome to attend. You don’t have to sign up in advance, but if you need a lift to Durham, or if you are able to offer someone else a lift, please leave your details on the sheet on the noticeboard.

Tainted Money

Today’s parable is a difficult one to understand and interpret. The steward is in a position of trust, and he uses his position dishonestly for his own benefit. Yet he is praised ‘for his astuteness.’

We should consider the situation of Jesus’ disciples. They lived in a grossly unequal society, where working people were ruthlessly exploited and heavily taxed by those who were wealthy and powerful. The words of the prophet Amos, denouncing injustice against the poor, were still relevant in the Lord’s time. So perhaps those hearing the parable would assume that the master had acquired his wealth unjustly, and that the steward was simply redressing the balance in favour of the poor people who were in debt to him. Certainly, the master seems to act ruthlessly in sacking his steward after an accusation of dishonesty. The deeper message of the parable is that we cannot serve two masters. If money is our master, we will be ruthless and even dishonest in our pursuit of wealth. If we are true disciples of Christ – children of light – we will give money its proper importance, and use it for good and worthwhile purposes.

Finchale Partnership: Property & Community Review

This is the text of the announcement made at last weekend’s Masses across the Partnership:

The Diocese has asked all partnerships to carry out a Property and Community review.

Between 1985 and 2017 Mass attendance in the Diocese fell by more than 64%, but the number of Diocesan buildings has hardly changed. This means that we have too many churches and buildings, and the way they are currently used is unsustainable into the future. This situation places an increasing burden on priests and volunteers to manage property and we cannot afford to meet ongoing running, maintenance and repair costs.  

Now is the time for Partnerships to look ahead and consider what our future property and community needs will be.  The Diocese has asked that we undertake a full review of our buildings and land so that a flexible plan can be developed to maximise their use and sustainability, to meet the needs of our parishes and of the wider community. 

Each parish is asked to carry out a Community Audit, including talking to the local community such as local councils and voluntary groups, to help us think about what our buildings could be used for.  We will be looking for volunteers in all our parishes to make sure there is plenty of communication and consultation with parishioners, and to identify options for use of our buildings.

The Partnership is then asked to look ahead to 2030, taking account of the views of the parishes, financial forecasts, and property appraisals which look at building use and condition, to identify priorities.  A Property Proposals Plan will then be developed and submitted to the Diocese, where it will be reviewed.

The Partnership Development Group is meeting with Jeremy Brock, the Diocesan Property Review Co-ordinator, on 1 October, to find out more about the process.  We will, of course, be working with the Building Committees / volunteers in all of the parishes, and there will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to contribute their thoughts and ideas over the coming months. 

If you think you could help with the Community Audit please contact Margaret Doyle on margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

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