Mary being greeted by the angel recreated in Playmobil

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. This will be the last issue of our newsletter until the new year – the next one will be sent out on 8 January. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and hope that you all stay well and safe throughout the festive period.


You can find previous issues of the newsletter here. We would love to hear from you and are always looking for uplifting and encouraging content to share in future issues of this newsletter. If you have any ideas or content that we can share, please do email them to Louise (


We start with our opening prayer:


Even if we cannot physically gather: God is with us
Even if Christmas celebrations are different: God is with us
Even if we might not be able to hug family and friends: God is with us
Even if we cannot sing carols in church buildings: God is with us
Even if Christmas cheer is harder this year: God is with us
Emmanuel, God with us, we come before you in worship and praise.  We remember that you are ever faithful, eternally loving, and mysteriously present always.  Amen
(From Christian Aid for Advent)



A message from the church elders

Dear members and friends of Christ Church,


Following the announcement that London boroughs have been moved to tier 3 restrictions, services in the Christ Church building are now suspended until further notice.


We will, however, be making an exception for our Christmas morning service which will take place at 11am on 25th December. Pre-booking is essential for this service due to the need to restrict numbers. If you would like to attend the Christmas morning service in person, please contact Joanne Mackin on 07803 083093 by 21st December at 6pm to let her know you will be attending. We will be sharing a Christmas morning service on Facebook at 11am and this will also be available to view on the ‘News’ section of our website at that time. (


Our Sunday services will continue to be broadcast online at 11am each Sunday on our Facebook page and a recent service is shared each week on our church website.


Merry Christmas to you all and stay safe.
Best wishes,
Peter King and Brian Moere
Acting joint church secretaries.


The Christingle

The Christmas Christingle church service has its origins in Germany. The first Christingle service was at a Moravian Church in 1747 on Christmas Eve at Marienborn. The congregation wanted to enact a service that symbolised Jesus Christ’s love and light. It was led by a Bishop called John de Watteville. A simple white candle and red ribbon was used as the Christingle. Their candles were made from bees’ wax because they burnt cleaner and represented Christ’s purity.


The Christingle church service soon spread around the world to Christian countries like America and the service was introduced to the UK in Church of England churches several centuries later, in 1968, by The Children’s Society. It grew in popularity and has become a much loved and popular service for children and their families.


A collage showing members of the Boys' and Girls' Brigade holding their Christingles with a tray of Christingles in the centre


Christingle means Christ Light and is a way for the Church to communicate the Christian message in a fun and inspiring way to children and the local community. It brings people and families together at a time that signifies peace and goodwill. It is a great way to welcome new people to a church congregation.


The Christingle is made up of an orange, wrapped in ribbon, with a small lit candle and dried fruits or sweets inserted into the orange flesh and skin. The dried fruit and sweets are secured to the Christingle orange using four cocktail sticks. It is designed to appeal to children and each part of the Christingle signifies something different.


  • The orange represents the world.
  • The lighted candle represents Jesus Christ who is seen as the Light of the World who shows us God’s love.
  • The red ribbon wrapped around the Christingle orange is a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for our sins. It is also a symbol of forgiveness.
  • The dried fruit and sweets represent the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and the fruits of the earth.  They can also represent the four points of the compass of North, East, South and West and the good things the world provides.


Round orange, round orange, you serve as a sign
That God made the round world with purpose divine.
The power of love is always the same:
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice in God’s name.


Red ribbon, you tell of the bloodshed and pain.
Which led to forgiveness when Jesus was slain.
The power of love is always the same:
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice in God’s name.


Ripe fruits, freely given, this truth you recall,
When God hands out presents they’re meant for us all.
The power of love is always the same:
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice in God’s name.


Bright candle, the message you carry is clear,
The true light from God found a home with us here.
The power of love is always the same:
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice in God’s name.


Christingle, Christingle, shine out in the night
To kindle among us the marvellous light.
The power of love is always the same:
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice in God’s name.
(Elizabeth Consett)


Readings for Sunday 20 December 2020

Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)

The birth of Jesus foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’


29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’


Mary being greeted by the angel recreated in Playmobil


34 ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’


35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.’


38 ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
  • Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
  • Romans 16:25-27



Readings for Christmas Day

Isaiah 9:2-7 (NIV)

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.


Further readings from the lectionary for Christmas Day are as follows:

  • Psalm 96
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)



Readings for Sunday 27 December 2020

Luke 2:22-40 (NIV)

Jesus presented in the temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons’.


25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:


29 ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.’


33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’


A stained glass window depicting Jesus being presented in the temple


36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.


39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3
  • Psalm 148
  • Galatians 4:4-7



Readings for Sunday 3 January 2021

John 1:1-18 (NIV)

The Word became flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.


The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.


14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, ‘This is the one I spoke about when I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”’) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Jeremiah 31:7-14
  • Psalm 147: 12-20
  • Ephesians 1:3-14



Our worship

Our services are currently online-only and are live-streamed on our Facebook page at 11am on Sundays. If you wish to view our services online, you can find them at You do not have to be a Facebook user to watch them – our services are publicly viewable. You can also view a recent service here. This Sunday’s service will be an online carol service.


The communion table and cross at the front of the chapel with the Boys' and Girls' Brigade colours either side of the cross


We meet via Zoom immediately after the service for a virtual ‘coffee and chat’. The link for this will be shared in the comments on Facebook during the service.


If you are unable to join us in person or online for our Sunday services, but would like to receive a recording of them on a memory stick to watch at home, please let us know.



Church charity news

Virtual games evening – Saturday 12th December

Thank you to everyone who attended our virtual games evening on 12 December. We played word scatter, Pictionary, charades, bingo and finished off with a few games of hangman. It was a fun evening and was enjoyed by a range of ages from 7 to 70+.


You can find more details about our church charity fundraising events and items on our virtual sales table here. Gifts and donations can be made online via Virgin Money Giving or by cash or cheque made payable to Christ Church and clearly marked for the church charity.



A cartoon of the three wise men outside a house with a person standing in the doorway calling inside with the caption "I think your lights might be too bright this year."
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc –



Advent letter from the Synod Moderator

We are entering the Advent season and as the year draws to a close, it may leave us with unpleasant memories. We need advent hope more than ever before and should remember that ‘fear not’ is said to be the most common commandment in the Bible.


2020 has been a difficult year even though it started on a positive note. The Synod leaders met in February to think about ‘Re-visioning the Synod phase 2’.  Then the Covid-19 pandemic was declared across the world, something our generation has never before seen.


Nothing has remained the same. Lockdowns, Covid-19 related illnesses and deaths, pressure on the National Health Service and public funds, economic downturn including severe effects on the aviation, holiday and hospitality industries, rising domestic abuse and mental stress are only a few things in a long list. The commercial letting of church buildings has been heavily reduced. Consequently, many churches suffered loss of income and for some it became a matter of survival.


The challenges also led to heroism and a resolve to combat and survive. The bravery of NHS staff and other key workers will never be forgotten. Benevolence and neighbourliness in communities, support for those on low income, the work of charities, a low carbon footprint, health awareness, connecting with nature and spirituality are a few positive aspects to cite among many. Churches learnt to use a virtual platform for worship and meetings. Local pastoral care increased. Thanks to the efforts of medical research vaccines have been produced.


The year 2020 forced us to closely experience uncertainty in life. Our confidence and pride in having control over our lives and the world was swept away. We have been left with few options but to ‘trust God’ who controls us and our universe. For so long these words were empty theological and liturgical jargon. It is said that we reap what we sow, and we now face the consequences of having abused our planet and being greedy in the use of science and technology to gain more power and wealth.


Those who were brought up in the developing world are aware of the conditions of daily-wage earners, those living their whole lives on the footpath, prostitutes who are ill and unable to do business and hospitals without medicines. I have witnessed such true stories on the streets of Kolkata.  I would not wish such a life on anyone; these people taught me a lesson. Despite little certainty about their next meal, they were gifted with the will to survive and an amazing trust in God’s providence.


We shall soon celebrate the birth of a child, a vulnerable and dependent baby, who brings salvation to humanity. The birth of a child is a gift from God. But we must care for and nurture the gift in order to receive God’s blessings. According to Luke, the shepherds were astonished when they heard the message and they rushed to see the child. They rejoiced and praised God after they had left the manger scene. They symbolise innocent trust in God. We need to return to that simplicity of life and faith in our over-developed world and re-discover the notion of humanity.


Nativity figures on the communion table at Christ Church


On a personal note, everyone has so far been fine in my family. I am looking forward to my retirement, at the end of May 2021 after 12 years in the role of Synod Moderator and 42 years overall in ministry in various roles, from local to global. I started my ministry in 1978 as a Deacon and was ordained as Presbyter in 1981 in the Church of North India (CNI). Major periods of my ministry have been in CNI, Council for World Mission and the United Reformed Church. Kiran and I plan to retire in South London and I am trying to find out whether the long years of ministry have left me with any hobbies that I can rekindle in retirement.


The good news is that Rev George Watt has been nominated as Thames North Synod’s new Moderator, to start his role from 1 June 2021. I felt a true sense of relief when the nomination was announced. George comes with many gifts, much experience and strong leadership qualities. Please welcome him. I have been blessed with tremendous support, trust and goodwill from pastorates, leaders, ministers and colleagues in Thames North Synod and I appeal to you to extend the same to George.


I feel a sense of fulfilment as I reach the end of my formal ministry; the informal will of course continue. I have enjoyed serving the URC Thames North Synod and I shall keep the precious memories of our shared joy, pain and laugher close to my heart.


I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year
Andrew Prasad



From the Methodist Circuit weekly notices

Circuit Office Christmas Closing

The Circuit Office is closed from 17th December until 4th January. Please note that during this time the only admin contact is Laura Pottage:



Christmas Nativity Trail

In North Hillingdon knitted nativity figures have started appearing in the windows of local shops and businesses. These are part of a children’s Nativity Trail organised by North Hillingdon Methodist Church, together with other local churches.


The trail is a bit like a treasure hunt.


Over a thousand children from local schools have been given leaflets, which has details of the 12 figures. All they have to do is work out where they are and write down where they found them. Once they have discovered all the figures then they can return the leaflet (by Christmas) to North Hillingdon Methodist Church where they will be entered into a prize draw.


In a year where so many things have had to be changed or even cancelled, here is something fun to do over Christmas.


You can download a leaflet from:



Going Crackers at Christmas

Cracker Cards

  • A4 card cut into 3 x 7cm strips lengthways
  • Scissors
  • ‘Fancy’ scissors
  • Glitter/glitter glue
  • Christmas stickers


Mark strip 11.5 cm from each end and fold in.  Fold ends back so that the folds meet in the middle.  Create cracker ‘ends’ with ‘fancy’ scissors and also cut triangles to mark the narrow part of the cracker.  Write message inside and seal with a Christmas sticker, then decorate with glitter glue.  The recipient will need to pull the cracker to find the message inside.


A Christmas cracker card

Smelly crackers

  • Christmas fabric approx. 6cm x 18cm, cut with pinking shears
  • Fabric glue
  • Christmas pot pourri or similar
  • Ribbon


Place pot pourri in the middle of the fabric and glue along one of the long edges.  Roll the fabric round into a cylinder with the pot pourri inside, then tie ribbon about 5cm from each end to form a scented cracker.


A fabric pot pourri-filled cracker

A cartoon of the three wise men on camels with the caption "you know guys, rumor has it that the baby shivers in the cold... maybe instead of gold and perfume he would enjoy a blanket?"
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc –



12 days of Christmas quiz

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a partridge in a pear tree. It seems a rather unlikely Christmas present – but do you know why a partridge in a pear tree would be an unusual occurrence? Or what the ten lords a-leaping, or the eleven pipers piping are said to represent?


Over the last couple of weeks, we have been sharing sets of questions on our church Facebook page which have each been inspired by one of the lines in the ’12 days of Christmas’.


The full list of questions can be found here. How many of them can you get right? The answers will be sent out in January.



Children’s Corner


A crossword puzzle
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2020. Reproduced with permission.)


A word search
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2020. Reproduced with permission.)


Praying for other churches

We hold the following churches in our prayers over the festive period:


w/c 20 Dec 2020

  • Ruislip Manor Methodist Church
  • Holy Trinity, Perivale (URC/CofE)


w/c 27 Dec 2020

  • South Harrow Methodist Church
  • St Margaret’s & St George’s, Harlesden (URC/ Moravian)


w/c 3 Jan 2021

  • Trinity (URC & Methodist)


Closing prayer

May the joy of Christmas shine in the world, uniting all people in God’s good will. May we who have worshipped at the manger carry Christ’s loving kindness with us, every day of the year. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)

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