Newsletter: 13th-19th February 2022

Greetings from Eileen

Dear friends

Is it irreverent or disrespectful to consider a letter from Her Majesty the Queen to those she has lovingly dedicated more than 70 years of her life in public service, a love letter? At the heart of such duty, on many occasions surely sacrificial and testing, is love lived out all those years. Here is Her Majesty’s letter.

Prayers of blessings at the meal

I hope you are uplifted by Bishop Paul’s sermon delivered at Durham Cathedral on Accession Day, which I have added to the end of this newsletter.

14th February is among the most known Saints’ Days. According to Shakespeare’s Lysander “the course of true love never did run smooth” and for Bishop Valentine in the 3rd Century, on whose story St Valentine’s Day is based, his love for the woman he healed from blindness was cut short by his execution and martyrdom. It is surely a good thing that every year those who are married or engaged to be married enjoy expressions of love on this day and refresh their relationships. For those who choose this day to make proposals of marriage, may they bear in mind the story of St Valentine as well as St Paul’s exposition about love in 1 Corinthians 13 ‘4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.’ 

Accession Day

Marks the anniversary of the reigning monarch taking the throne, which in the case of Her Majesty the Queen is the 6th February 1952. It is particularly fitting to celebrate this anniversary in 2022 as it marks the beginning of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and also the head of state, we pray frequently for her work and for her needs. This Sunday, we acknowledge Her Majesty’s accession and faithful service with readings, collects and prayers specially provided for use at our services.



takes place on Thursday 10th February 2022, St Mary’s, Gainford: Bible Study 5.30-6.45pm. From 6.30pm to 8.00pm, there will be games, craft, songs and food for 8-12 year-olds, and Creation Club for 12-16 year-olds also runs from 6.30pm to 8.00pm. New members and returning members all welcome!

Rev’d Dr Alastair Prince leads Holy Communion at the 9.30am service at St Andrew’s Winston.

Churchwardens lead the lay Service of the Word at 10.45am, St Mary’s Gainford this Sunday 6th February 2022 at 9.30am and 10.45am respectively.


God is with us. May Christ, who by his incarnation, gathered into one, all things earthly and heavenly, fill you with joy and peace.

Rev’d Eileen Harrop


Sunday 13th February 2020

  •  St Mary’s, Gainford welcomes back Rev’d Canon Dr Alan Bartlett, Ministry Development Adviser to lead the 10.45am Communion Service
  • St Andrew’s, Winston welcomes Rev’d Dr Alastair Prince, Vocations Strategy Development Adviser, who continues his leading of the 9.30am Communion Service for another Sunday.

Non-residentiary Canon of Durham Cathedral Installation Service: The cathedral has written to invite members of our parishes to this service on Sunday 6th March – the cathedral’s 3.30pm Choral Evensong. If you would like to come, please contact Tom (e-mail, who is arranging minibus transport (£2 per person). The service is live streamed for those who are unable to attend but able to access Facebook.

Durham Diocese together with the other 2 northernmost dioceses (Newcastle and Carlisle) of York Province has invited parishes to participate in the ‘Small Faithful Rural’ Residential Conference at The Sill Retreat Centre, near Hadrian’s Wall, on the 10th and 11th of June:   The cost for 2 days overnight-stay with full board, speakers, and all resources is £100 per participant. This is an excellent opportunity for us, following our parishes’ Vision Day, to draw on the experience of others with support of our diocese to develop our ministry and mission now and in the years to come. Tom Deakin, coordinating our participation, is in conversation with our PCC treasurers for a subsidy arrangement. Please contact Tom for more information and to sign up.

Regular Events

On Thursdays our youth group YOUTH SAINTS monthly meeting. Please spread the message to friends and neighbours with young people.

Youth Bible Time is also resuming from 5.45pm in St Mary’s Church, Gainford on the same Thursday. Young people from both our parishes and others from nearby places are all welcome!

Our Growth Fellowship, formerly the Young Leaders Fellowship, is now open to anyone to join from both parishes as well as those within the surrounding area – young adults interested in developing themselves, understanding more about the Bible or those interested in joining in with a regular programme of activities (both indoor and outdoor) are all welcome.  Please contact us if you are interested in taking part!

Our churches are open daily for private prayer.
We welcome everyone to join us at services in church every Sunday:
9.30am at St Andrew’s Church, Winston
10.45am at St Mary’s Church, Gainford

Our congregations now sing together in church! Provision for singing without face coverings is also available in both churches.

Our churches continue to be open daily for private prayer.

Please read the separate Covid page outlining the modified approach for each church for details.

Click for St Mary’s Coronavirus Information

Click for St Andrew’s Coronavirus Information

The Collect for the Accession Service

Almighty God,
who alone can bring order
to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity:
give your people grace
so to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, among the many changes of this world,
our hearts may surely there be fixed
where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post-Communion Prayer

Merciful Father,
who gave Jesus Christ to be for us the bread of life,
that those who come to him should never hunger:
draw us to the Lord in faith and love,
that we may eat and drink with him
at his table in the kingdom,
where he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

The First Reading

New Testament Reading

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

2 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 

16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

The Gospel

Luke 6:17-26

7 He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.



This sermon was given on February 6th 2022 at Durham Cathedral by the Bishop of Durham to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Queen’s Accession. 
Proverbs 8.1-17  Revelation 21.22-22.4

I, wisdom,…have good advice and sound wisdom; I have insight, I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just …. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

It is my deep privilege from time to time to lead prayers at the start of business in the House of Lords. Every day the Lords sits we pray for Her Majesty that God may, “so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way’. She has, I believe experienced that prayer being answered throughout her reign.
She is indeed a woman of prayer herself, and deeply conscious of the prayers of others. As she wrote in her Foreword to the book, ‘The Servant Queen’, “I have been – and remain – very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love. I have indeed seen his faithfulness.” This echoes her thanks to the nation on her Coronation Day for the prayers that had upheld her through affirming her solemn obligations as Sovereign.

When her grandfather, George V, died on 20th January 1936, her Majesty was just 9 years old, and her Uncle Edward became King. The possibility that one day she might succeed to the throne was a real one but still distant. It was only after Edward’s abdication 11 months later and Her Majesty’s father, Bertie, became King George V1 that the reality must have started to emerge in her mind. She was 10 years old and her future calling began to be formed within her. On her 21st birthday she famously addressed the nation pledging her commitment to serve for the whole of her life. Yet when she flew to Kenya for a royal visit she did not expect to be called back three days later. Unexpectedly her father died in his sleep, aged just 56. So Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II, aged just 25.

She has always seen this to be her God given calling. Here she has always displayed something of the humility of Christ. She has not held the position with any sense of entitlement, superiority or presumption. Since she recognises that in God’s providence this calling and responsibility has been placed on her shoulders she has always sought to exercise it as a servant of the people, this nation and the Commonwealth. She has sought to quietly and gently guide the move from Empire to British Commonwealth to Commonwealth. She has met weekly with the many Prime Ministers that she has seen come and go and listened and offered her wisdom. She has always sought to show genuine interest in whoever she meets and all the causes that she has supported. It is no wonder that she is held in such high regard and affection by the people of this nation, the Commonwealth, and the wider community of nations. We remember today also how much this was a partnership, until last year, with her beloved husband, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

This whole life of devoted service is rooted in her commitment to Jesus Christ. She has regularly used her Christmas message to publicly declare her own faith in Jesus Christ. In 2014 she said, “For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.

So today we give thanks for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the way that she has served us for 70 years. We are grateful for her renewed commitment made on this accession weekend to continue to serve. Then may we learn from her example of prayer and of following Jesus Christ in a life of service. As she said at Christmas 2012, “This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son ‘to serve, not to be served‘. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others. The carol, In The Bleak Midwinter, ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: ‘What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part’. The carol gives the answer: ‘Yet what I can I give him – give my heart’.

Written by Rev'd Canon Eileen Harrop

Reverend Canon Eileen is the incumbent for St Mary's, Gainford and St Andrew's, Winston.

February 15, 2022

Join Us at services in our churches every sunday

10:45am at St Mary’s Church, Gainford

9:30am at St Andrew’s church, winston


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