Newsletter: 13th – 19th March 2022

Greetings from Eileen

Dear friends,

We move into another week of prayer alongside the people of Ukraine and those people in Russia who are also urging for their leader’s military aggression to stop.

Deuteronomy 10:18 ‘(God) defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.’

So far, there are 2.5 million refugees who have fled Ukraine, 1.85 million people internally displaced, and 12 million people trying their best to survive in war-stricken towns and cities. The Bishop of Durham is a trustee of the charity ‘RESET’, which works closely with The Sanctuary Foundation, helping refugees in practical ways. Please look at their website Churches, individuals, and businesses can sign up as sponsors to help Ukrainian families fleeing the war. This could be the offer of accommodation, jobs, or other ways to help them settle into community life. Details of the sponsorship scheme are expected in the next few days.

Gainford C of E Primary School have invited St Mary’s, Gainford to help the school’s support for ‘Beyond Limits’ a Butterknowle based local charity. This charity has been taking donations over the Polish border to support those fleeing Ukraine, who are in desperate need of:

• Personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste, and shampoo
• Nappies, baby creams and utensils such as feeding bottles and sanitising fluid
• Baby milk (powdered), and baby food
• Medicines such as Calpol, paracetamol, ibuprofen, for both adults and children**
• Plasters, bandages, antiseptic, sanitiser gel, and face masks

You are invited to place donations in St Mary’s Church (except medicines **) in the box marked UKRAINE by 28th March to be ready for next convoy travelling to Poland. For medicines, please only bring these in on Sunday mornings when members of the church will be present.

LENT STUDY: Wednesday 16th March 7-8pm, St Mary’s, Gainford (West End)

Canon Pastor Rev’d Michael Everitt from Durham Cathedral will lead us in a time of reflection, conversation, and prayer as we discover/re-discover God Who Welcomes, with Bible passages from 2 Chronicles 4:11-18 and Luke 19:45-58. (More information of this and the next 2 sessions below). We will begin promptly at 7pm but come 5 minutes early if you would like a cuppa!

LENT LUNCH: Everyone is welcome to St Andrew’s, Winston’s Lent Lunch

This event is being held to support Water Aid at WINSTON VILLAGE HALL on Saturday 19th March 2022

This Sunday’s Services: We look forward to welcoming everyone and especially hope to see those of you who have stayed away due to the risk of Covid-19 to come again into our churches.

St Andrew’s, Winston: 9.30am Holy Communion
• St Mary’s, Gainford: 10.45am Holy Communion

Thank you for all your prayerful support for my Installation to Canon of Durham Cathedral last Sunday. You can watch a post-service recording including the livestream on YouTube:

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



Lent Study:

I hope many will come discover/re-discover the nature of God and the personal way in which we are called into relationship with him and in the world. Just come. No pre-booking is required.

Study 1: The God who welcomes – God who is actively personal, who isn’t remote despite being God Almighty maker of heaven and earth and the Judge of all
Study 2: The God of hospitality – What has hospitality got to do with ‘preparing the way of the Lord’ and ‘making straight in the desert a highway for our God’?
Study 3: The Good God –  Bad things, good people, and a Good God?  Is Lament compatible with a good God? Is there really Good News?

During the hour, we will take:
◦ 5 minutes for practical matters and an opening prayer
◦ 45 minutes for the study that involves looking at one or more Bible passages and exposition; one or 2 break out group sessions for reflective conversation guided by a few questions, and sharing of break-out conversations to the whole group
◦ 10 minutes Night Prayer/Compline to close (Neil will lead these at the end of study 2 and 3)

• St Cuthbert’s Day and Celebration Pilgrimage:

Everyone is invited to attend a special service of Evensong with a Procession to the Shrine of St Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral on Friday 18 March at 6.00 pm. As the newly installed Canon for Pilgrimage, I shall be among the readers at this service and procession to the Shrine. On Saturday 19 March, you are welcome to join a Pilgrimage Walk from Finchale Priory to Durham Cathedral. You should arrive at Finchale at 1.00 p.m. ready to leave at 1.30 pm – arriving at the Cathedral at 3.30 p.m. in time for a celebration of the Eucharist at 4.00 pm.

Free transport to Finchale Priory for walkers is provided from Durham County Hall (DH1 5UL) at 12.00 noon, but pre-booking is essential using this link: 
The walk is about 4 miles (6.7 km), with a certificate issued to all who complete this walk.

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

Post Communion

Almighty God,
you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:
keep us both outwardly in our bodies,
and inwardly in our souls;
that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The First Reading

Psalm 27

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
    to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
    they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
    yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
    and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, do I seek.

9     Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
    you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
    O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they are breathing out violence.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

The Gospel

Luke 4:31-35

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 

34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 

35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”


Celebrating St Cuthbert 2022


An Invitation to Pilgrimage Events on St Cuthbert’s Day

On Friday and Saturday 18th and 19th March 2022, we will be joined by pilgrims who have participated in the Camino de Santiago and Camino Ingles to journey together from Finchale Priory to the cathedral and to worship in Durham Cathedral.

Canon Chancellor Charlie Allen writes:

We are looking forward to celebrating St Cuthbert in style again at Durham Cathedral as we gradually emerge from the difficulties of the last two years.

We will sing a big special service of Evensong with a Procession to the Shrine on Friday 18 March at 6.00 p.m. The service is sung by Durham Cathedral Choir and the Preacher is the Reverend Canon Angela Tilby, Writer and Broadcaster and Canon Emerita of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford. We very much hope you will be with us on this special day which epitomises all that Durham Cathedral stands for. Please bring guests with you too. All congregational seating is unreserved. The service will last about one hour and there are drinks and nibbles in the Cloisters afterwards.

You can book free tickets at:

On Saturday 19 March, you are welcome to join a Pilgrimage Walk from Finchale Priory to Durham Cathedral. You should arrive at Finchale at 1.00 p.m. ready to leave at 1.30 p.m. – arriving at the Cathedral at 3.30 p.m. in time for a celebration of the Eucharist at 4.00 p.m. (see below).

During the day there will be family activities in the Cathedral on the theme of St Cuthbert. And, at 4.00 p.m., there will be a celebration of the Eucharist in honour of St Cuthbert sung by Durham Cathedral Choir and Newcastle Cathedral Choir. You are welcome to attend and sit in the congregation. Seats are free for all and you don’t need to tell us if you are coming.


1st Sunday of Lent: Rev’d Eileen Harrop, 6th March 2022, St Andrew’s, Winston (Psalm 91:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)

Today’s Gospel passage is a familiar one. Every Lent we are reminded of that special point in Jesus’ human faith journey when he is confronted by the Devil’s invitation to show his status and power. Looking on more than 2,000 years, with the New Testament testimony of disciples, apostles, and missionaries, we risk taking this story of the first Lenten experience for granted.

What comes to mind if someone told you tales of ‘Eileen’s temptations’ or ‘Eileen’s 40 days away’? Yup, it’s boring, and no one would blame you if your response was “So what?” These days the word ‘temptation’ is in any case couched as something ‘acceptable’, ‘intriguing’, and ‘forgivable’. After all, breaking one’s fast with cake on someone’s birthday during the Lenten season is hardly worth a mention.

But there’s nothing banal or passe about Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness.

In Jesus’ Lenten testimony, every one of us who calls on the name of Jesus and acknowledges God our Father, will be victorious against the powers of evil. Yes, that’s the big deal. Jesus’ testimony tells us that all falsehood and deceptions, all evil and unrighteousness, everything that leads us away from God’s love, will be defeated.

Today, I’m inclined not to remind us of the 3 tests that the Devil chose for Jesus. They are quite pathetic in my reckoning that the Devil believed Jesus would fall for them. First, the Devil goaded Jesus to change stone into bread, seeing that Jesus was hungry. Second, the Devil asked for Jesus’ worship in exchange for all the world’s kingdoms. Then third, the Devil challenged Jesus to show dominion over heaven’s angels by throwing himself from the top of the temple.

We are told that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit when he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Jesus had been affirmed by God the Father at the Jordan, and as he rose from his baptism in the river Jordan, God’s voice was accompanied by the Spirit descending on him.

In this passage of the Devil’s tests, we see the Devil’s power for what it is: shallow, superficial, and sinful. They are sinful because the Devil calls on Jesus to distrust God.
But I want to draw attention to a serious and practical aspect of the Devil’s tests when we consider the faith of the Psalmist and our brothers and sisters in Ukraine today. We are here listening to our Bible passages in peace and comfort. But in the context of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, the Devil’s tests are heinous and a great trial.

The people of Ukraine have been caused to become hungry, terror-stricken, and homeless. What might they accept in exchange for this destruction to stop, and for the lives of their children and loved ones? Would they claim with peace in their hearts the words of the Psalmist?

5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
    or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    or the destruction that wastes at noonday.

As the battle rages around them and death increases amongst them, would they say about God:

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

And as communication systems shut down and only the voices of their enemy rings out, would they still declare:

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

Theirs’ is the test of Lent. To know that all heaven’s angels are deployed at their side; to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit; to believe in God the Father maker of heaven and earth; and to know that Jesus defeated the same Devil who is testing them; theirs’ is the test of Lent.

Let us pray for and with the embattled people of Ukraine, and those in Russia who want no part of this evil, that they may be strengthened and remain firm by faith that in Jesus, victory is theirs. God’s almighty power, in heaven and on earth, belongs to the innocent and righteous who cry out to Him.

And let us keep a moment of silence adding thoughts of our own faith at this time of Lent, that we may not falter when assailed by troubles.


Written by Rev'd Canon Eileen Harrop

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

March 14, 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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