Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

Sunday 20th September Worship@home resources

Sunday 20th September: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time marking Harvest

If you wish, you can listen to the service recorded for BishopFM 105.9 on Thursday, which will be repeated in the church today at 11am

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Parts of this short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne and also an all-age talk by Rev John.


Come to the God who knows us,
to the God who created our being,
to the God who knows our frailty,
to the God who loves and cherishes us beyond measure.
Come as you are and worship God.

Hymn: StF 123 Come you thankful people come

Opening Prayer

Lord God,
we all belong to your kingdom
and we bring our different lives and experiences
to worship you today, the true and living God.
We praise you, Lord, for all that you are,
for the creation that is yours,
for its beauty and wonder, its diversity and richness.
We praise you for your presence and comfort
that swaddle us in your purity and enrich us with your abundance.
We praise you for your steadfastness
that perseveres with us, faltering disciples and failing followers.
We praise you that, day by day, you amaze and enrich us
and reveal yourself in new and unexpected ways.
We praise you that you are the same yesterday,
today and for ever – and yet forever new.
O Lord our God, you are indeed,
from the depth of our being,
highly to be praised.

Almighty God,
we don’t always know how we got to where we are,
and we certainly don’t always know where we are going;
we don’t always choose the right path,
and we certainly don’t always follow it;
we don’t always deal well with the struggles of life,
and we don’t always give thanks for the joys of life either;
we don’t always think of the effects that our choices
cause to others, near and far.
We are too often selfish,
wanting what we want no matter what the cost to others.
Almighty God, forgive us, reassure us
and cradle us within your forgiveness.

Prayer taken from the prayers for today on

Hannah’s Creative Prayer

At this time, many of us won’t have seen our loved ones for many months. Today, find a photo or think of someone that you haven’t been able to see for a while. How do they make you happy? Have you ever taken them for granted? Take a moment to thank God for this person in your life.

Harvest from All We Can: Change begins with a Bicycle

Follow this link to give a one-off donation or to give £6 a month to All We Can ‘Change begins with a Bicycle’ Harvest Uganda Appeal

A bike ride away is our local Harvest Appeal

Follow this link to give money to support Woodhouse Close Community Centre and the Foodbank or drop some of the items on the list below into them one day during the week, or contact Rev John on 01388 603142 if you aren’t able to go yourself and you wish him to collect something from you to drop up to them.

Today’s Psalm: Psalm 145

A Hymn of Praise

145 I will proclaim your greatness, my God and king;
    I will thank you forever and ever.
Every day I will thank you;
    I will praise you forever and ever.
The Lord is great and is to be highly praised;
    his greatness is beyond understanding.

What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next;
    they will proclaim your mighty acts.
They will speak of your glory and majesty,
    and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
People will speak of your mighty deeds,
    and I will proclaim your greatness.
They will tell about all your goodness
    and sing about your kindness.
The Lord is loving and merciful,
    slow to become angry and full of constant love.

Reading taken from Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Today’s Gospel Reading:
Matthew 20:1-16

The Workers in the Vineyard

20 “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a man who went out early in the morning to hire some men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them the regular wage, a silver coin a day, and sent them to work in his vineyard. He went out again to the marketplace at nine o’clock and saw some men standing there doing nothing, so he told them, ‘You also go and work in the vineyard, and I will pay you a fair wage.’ So they went. Then at twelve o’clock and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. It was nearly five o’clock when he went to the marketplace and saw some other men still standing there. ‘Why are you wasting the whole day here doing nothing?’ he asked them. ‘No one hired us,’ they answered. ‘Well, then, you go and work in the vineyard,’ he told them.

“When evening came, the owner told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with those who were hired last and ending with those who were hired first.’ The men who had begun to work at five o’clock were paid a silver coin each. 10 So when the men who were the first to be hired came to be paid, they thought they would get more; but they too were given a silver coin each. 11 They took their money and started grumbling against the employer. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘while we put up with a whole day’s work in the hot sun—yet you paid them the same as you paid us!’ 13 ‘Listen, friend,’ the owner answered one of them, ‘I have not cheated you. After all, you agreed to do a day’s work for one silver coin. 14 Now take your pay and go home. I want to give this man who was hired last as much as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do as I wish with my own money? Or are you jealous because I am generous?’”

16 And Jesus concluded, “So those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last.”

Reading taken from Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Today’s Epistle Reading:
Philippians 1:21-30

21 For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more. 22 But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. 23 I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; 24 but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. 25 I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that when I am with you again, you will have even more reason to be proud of me in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

27 Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you, I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel. 28 Don’t be afraid of your enemies; always be courageous, and this will prove to them that they will lose and that you will win, because it is God who gives you the victory. 29 For you have been given the privilege of serving Christ, not only by believing in him, but also by suffering for him. 30 Now you can take part with me in the battle. It is the same battle you saw me fighting in the past, and as you hear, the one I am fighting still.

Reading taken from Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Time to Reflect

Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!

As we continue to worship online, we have a pick and mix approach to this sermon slot. You can choose to listen to (1) Susan’s sermon as we have had through lockdown. Today you might also choose to listen to (2) the pdf sheet from Roots or (4) an all-age video talk by Rev John or (5) the Connexional reflection or otherwise to come (6) to the church garden to prayer walk the labyrinth or or if nothing else to stay home (7) and simply take time for yourself and reflect on the readings you have just read and heard.

1. If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

3. or you might choose to click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

4. or an All age Talk this week, reflecting on the Gospel passage:

5. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below:

All Christians talk about grace but it seems to me that as Methodists we talk about grace a lot! This unearned, love of God in Jesus Christ freely offered to all people is both the foundation and heart of our worship, the sacraments and our new life in Christ. It is this grace that is expressed in God’s saving action toward us and nothing of our faith can ever be outside a response to God’s grace.

In turning to Matthew 20 we reach Jesus’ parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard. The New Testament scholar Charles B. Cousar suggests that the best response a preacher can make to this text is to simply get out of the way of this challenging, perhaps even annoying picture of God’s grace. Why annoying? This story is told to Jesus’ disciples who have as Peter says “…left everything and followed [Jesus]” (Mt 11:27). It is to these that Jesus tells his story of workers who queue for their wage after a whole day toiling in the scorching sun. We can imagine their eyes popping when the latecomers receive a full day’s wage for but one hour’s work. If they have stumbled upon such generosity, what then will be their reward? Imagine then the knot in their stomachs as they receive nothing but the exact same coin as their colleagues who had hardly broken sweat. What employer would be so foolish as to alienate such faithful workers?  

This then is Jesus’ answer to his faithful follower’s enquiry about their reward. Confronted by the reality of God’s grace all legalistic religion, all bargaining with God finds its end. The reward is the work itself for it is carried out in the presence of the master.

As we are confronted by this grace, so it poses a question. Is it enough for us to know that we labour in the presence and purpose of the God who loves us? As our story stands on the threshold of Holy Week in Matthew 21, are we content that we shall gather with last minute arrivals so that even a thief, in the last minutes of his life, finds a gracious promise of paradise?

In our frustration, may we recall with humility, the grace first shown to us.

Grace and peace.

thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Andrew M. Emison

5. or take a walk to the church garden and pray as you walk around the labyrinth there, silently listening to God as you travel inwards to the cross at the centre and then back outwards again into the world

6. and/or sit quietly and reflect on the prayers, readings and thoughts here and listen for what God might be saying to you through them

Take a time to sit quietly

Hope and Millie’s Reflection

Prayers of Intercession

from the Radio service to be broadcast at 11am

Eternal, ever-living, ever-present God,
in the struggles and joys of this day, we pray:
For those who are overburdened, weighed down, demoralised,
fearful or desolate because of what life has thrown at them…
God, be with them.
For those engulfed in pain and anguish, facing illness and death…
God, be with them.
For those troubled in mind and spirit, who find no peace or calm…
God, be with them.
For those alone and lonely, without friend or comfort…
God, be with them.
For those frightened and bewildered, who see no direction
or purpose in their lives…
God, be with them.
Eternal, ever-living God,
bless them all in this and every hour,
in this and every step of life’s journey.

Prayer taken from the prayers for today on

Hymn: StF 125 Praise and Thanksgiving


Lord, give us a way to go,
a path to follow,
a purpose to fulfil
and meaning to our deeds.

Prayer taken from the prayers for today on

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