All posts by Parish Secretary

Not one of us?

In today’s Gospel, we find the apostle John annoyed. Someone is using the name of Jesus to cast out devils – but he isn’t one of the twelve apostles. John expects Jesus to put a stop to it, because this man is ‘not one of us.’ Jesus, instead, tells John to look at the fruits of the man’s ministry. If he is working miracles in Jesus’ name, then he is on the right side, and the disciples mustn’t stop him.

We can easily feel suspicious or resentful of anyone who is ‘not one of us.’ Even in the Church, we may be tempted to think in terms of ‘them and us,’ and to exclude those who are different from ourselves. But this is not what Jesus teaches us. No one is excluded from the love of God. In this Gospel, once again, Jesus reminds his disciples that the ‘little ones,’ the poor and powerless, are especially precious in God’s eyes. Anyone who is an obstacle to the faith of the little ones will answer to God. This is what should concern us, rather than asking who is ‘in’ or ‘out.’

Every one of us can be a witness to God’s love. Whoever we are, we are baptised as priests, prophets and kings, and we have our part to play in God’s plan for the world. In the Church, there should be no such thing as ‘not one of us.’

Gospel Reflection

‘Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony,’ writes St James in today’s Second Reading. And his words are borne out by the behaviour of the twelve apostles. Even as Jesus is warning them that suffering and death lie ahead for him, they are arguing about which of them is ‘the greatest.’ The apostles have failed to understand the Lord’s teaching.

Jesus illustrates the point in a dramatic way. He gathers the Twelve around him, and shows them a little child – a person with no power or status. Jesus tells the disciples that they should welcome the powerless in his name. For the disciples of Christ, leadership means service, and the poor and powerless have a special place in God’s kingdom. We should not be ambitious for worldly ‘greatness.’

Lay Dominican Group

Our local group of Lay Dominicans meets on the third Sunday of each month at 2:30pm – currently on Zoom – for about 60-75 minutes. Our next meeting is on September 19th and if you would like to join our Zoom meeting or to learn more about the Lay Dominicans then contact Andy Doyle ( or 0798 543 4185). Please note also that, to mark the joint 800th anniversary of the death of St Dominic and the coming of his friars to England, our meeting in October will be on Saturday 16th October when we shall have a day of prayer, study and reflection to which all will be invited to “Come and See” what we are about. 

Road Closure

Please note that, in addition to New Elvet Bridge being closed, road surfacing work has begun on New Elvet. This may cause diversion, delay and reduced parking availability near church between the 11th and 19th September (i.e. including 2 Sundays). Please set out early for Mass and look out for diversion signs!

Climate Demonstration

The Season of Creation continues until 4th October, and we are encouraged to pray and engage in community events, to deepen our awareness of environmental issues. Climate Coordination Durham are organising a public demonstration on Friday 24th September, from 11am in Durham Market Place, as part of the Global Climate Strike. Everyone is welcome.

Who do you say I am?

In today’s Gospel, Peter first gets it right, and then gets it terribly wrong. Jesus has gradually revealed himself to his disciples; by his teaching, by his miracles, and by their life together. Now, he wants to see if the disciples have understood his teaching. Peter, prompted by the Holy Spirit, gives the right answer to Jesus’ question: ‘You are the Christ’ – God’s chosen and anointed one.

But when Jesus spells out to his disciples what is to come – that he will be betrayed, arrested and put to death – Peter is horrified. This mustn’t happen to his friend. Jesus rebukes Peter. He is absolutely obedient to his Father’s will, and he will face all that lies ahead, without resisting. Jesus goes on to teach the disciples that anyone who wants to follow him must give up their own desires and take up their own cross. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be like him.

It is a hard and challenging teaching. Our own cross might be one of sickness, discrimination, loneliness or many other things. We may have to make hard choices, to be true to our faith in Christ. If we suffer injustice, our instinct is to fight back; but Jesus asks us to follow his example. He calls us to walk a hard road. But it is the same road that he has already walked himself.

Heritage Open Days

On Fridays 10th and 17th, Saturdays 11th and 18th and Sundays 12th and 19th of September, St Cuthbert’s will be taking part in the national Heritage Open Days event ( The church will be open to visitors, a small exhibition will be in place and light refreshments will be available. If you can help staff the church for 60 minutes or more during the day, welcoming visitors and offering refreshments, then please sign up on the list on the noticeboard or contact Andy Doyle (0798 543 4185 or

Season of Creation

The ecumenical celebration of the 2021 Season of Creation, themed ‘A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God,’ runs from 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to 4 October, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. During this annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home, Christians across the globe will come together for a time of restoration and hope, and to discover radically new ways of living with creation. Pope Francis has posted a message for the season at