Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are all keeping well and coping as best you can with the current lockdown restrictions. Our newsletter will continue to be sent out regularly to help continue to maintain contact and a sense of community while life continues to be restricted. You can find previous issues of the newsletter here. We would love to hear from you and are 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We start with our opening prayer:
We come before you today, just as we are. We come with the things that weigh us down. We come with the parts of ourselves we would prefer to hide.
Our regrets, our fears, our shame.
You know every part of us and yet you call us by name, just as we are. You welcome us in as part of your family.
So, we come.
We come to seek your light.
Your peace, your wholeness, your hope.
You call us to share your love with the world. To sow hope and build bridges, especially at this time of physical separation and distance.
We pray that you will strengthen us to be your people of light.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)
Reflection from 14 March: How many mums?
Reading: Exodus 2: 1-10
Today is Mother’s Day and it was lovely to hear the messages for their mums from some of our youngsters.
But actually, as we have also heard, today is Mothering Sunday, and I was pleased to see that’s what it says in my diary – NOT Mothers’ Day… because for us in church, although we do celebrate and thank God for our mothers, we have the opportunity to celebrate even more the enormous army of people who ‘mother’ us.
You may have heard of the African proverb – It takes a village to raise a child. Our reading from Exodus gives us a picture of the infant Moses receiving love, care and nurture from not one but three mother figures. And isn’t that what happens for most of us? We all need love, care and encouragement and that comes from a great variety of different people who ‘mother’ us or have ‘mothered’ us over our lifetimes.
I’m sure you can think of those who have showed you huge love and care as well as close family – teachers, friends, colleagues. People who have supported you in difficult times or made sure that you weren’t alone; people who made you feel better or made you smile – or gave you a hug when you needed one (when we could still hug!). And no doubt you have also done the same for others too and probably still are, especially in our current situation when it has become so important to offer support, a listening ear, make a phone call or give a virtual hug.
So much mothering given and received – and that’s just how it should be. This day can be difficult for many people. Some of us never knew our mothers or lost them a long time ago. Some of us may have children who have disappointed us, or whom we have disappointed. Some of us longed for children but found that it didn’t work out and some have suffered the awful pain of losing a much-loved child.
Life is often messy, never perfect and families are like that too. But you know, family is not just mum, dad and children. Family exists where people are loving towards one another. In our gospel reading we hear Jesus doing the mothering. He knows that He’s not going to be around to care for either of them, so he asks his mother to look after his best friend and his best friend to look after his mother. He wants the best for both of them.
You don’t have to be a woman, let alone a MOTHER, to share in that important work. We can all do it.
Jesus brings a new family to birth through his loving care, and the family he establishes is the family that’s here today – the Church. In this family we share in the work of mothering, and that is what we celebrate today.
Mothering Sunday is about sharing in God’s work of loving and caring for one another so that we can make our Church a true family where all are welcome. It’s about ALL those who care for us, who teach us and help us to grow – no matter how old or young they may be or what gender they are. And we need people like that whatever age we are!
Our readings for this week
John 12:20-33 (NIV)
Jesus predicts his death
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.
27 ‘Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!’
Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, ‘This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Jeremiah 31:31-34
- Psalm 51:1-12
- Hebrews 5:5-10
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 www.facebook.com/christchurchuxbridge. You do not have to be a Facebook user to watch them – our services are publicly viewable. You can also view a recent service on our church website. This Sunday’s service will be led by Methodist minister, Rev’d Dr Leão Neto.
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.
During Holy Week, we will be sharing a reading and reflection each day on our social media and our website.
Our Maundy Thursday service will be a Zoom service taking place at 7pm. We would like to share a simple meal together, so if you would like to join us for this, please do have a mug of soup and some bread, or a sandwich, ready for this. The meeting details have been shared in our church members’ newsletter; please contact the church office if you need these.
On Good Friday, we will be sharing a virtual walk of witness on Twitter from 11am. If you would like to follow this, you can find our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/ChristChurchUx The full text from this will be shared afterwards on our Facebook page and church website.
White flower cross of remembrance
If you would like to include the name of someone who has died on our white flower cross of remembrance, please let Louise know, or send us your white flower with the name written on, by Saturday 27th March. We will be reading the names during our prayer meeting on 31st March and remembering the people mentioned.
Easter community project
We are looking for decorations of crosses, eggs, chicks, bunnies etc to go on our Easter tree for our church window display. They should be no bigger than 2″ by 3″ (5cm by 7.5cm approx.) and can be knitted, sewn, crocheted, made of felt, craft foam, paper etc. We will add the hanging loop. Please send your decoration to Cathy by Friday 2 April.
If you’d like to try making a crocheted egg, here’s a pattern to use:
3 row crocheted egg – DK and 3mm hook
Row 1 Make magic circle, then *ch 3, 9dc in circle, ss to join (10 stitches). Alternatively, chain 6, ss into 2nd stitch to make a circle, then complete from *
Row 2 ch 2, tr in same stitch, 2tr in each of next 2 stitches, 3dtr in next stitch, 2tr in each of next 4 stitches, htr in each of next 2 stitches, htr in next 2 stitches, ss to join
Row 3 ch 2, htr in each of next 4 stitches, 2 htr in each of next 2 stitches, 3tr in next stitch, 2 htr in each of next 2 stitches, htr in each of next 4 stitches, 2htr in next stitch, htr and tr in next stitch, tr in next 2 stitches, ss to join. Finish.
You can find more information about Lent and Easter activities on our church website here.
Did you know…?
Most sources give Uxbridge as the birthplace of Christine Keeler, the model involved in the Profumo affair in the early 1960s. Her birth certificate reveals that she was born on 22nd February 1942 in Hillingdon Hospital, which is in the Uxbridge registration district. Her father was Colin Keeler, an engineer. Her mother was Julia Payne. At the time they were living at 94, Park Lane Hayes.
Spring is here
Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his poem Locksly Hall, 1842 wrote:
In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast
In the spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest
In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove
In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
He didn’t say:
In the spring a young (!) church treasurer’s thoughts heavily turn to a Gift Aid claim.
After April 5th the treasurer will add all the Gift aided receipts and claim tax back from the Inland Revenue. Many people have made contributions during lock downs for which we are very grateful. If you have completed a Gift aid form and you have a number of envelopes waiting to be donated it would help us if you either handed them into the church or sent a cheque. The church office is sometimes open so before setting off with a pile of envelopes phone the office. Leave a message if no answer.
This will put a spring in the treasurer’s step!
Church charity news
Murder mystery evening – Saturday 10th April, 7pm
We’ve all played Cluedo or watched Poirot, but now it’s our turn to be a part of the action!
Set on a snowy, long night in Northumberland, in an old country house in need of repair but where the parties are as glamorous as ever, people have gathered to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Full of local artists and musicians, it is a favourite tradition of the village. But then, the party is interrupted by a body in the snow…
Join us on Zoom at 7pm on Saturday 10th April and, as Hercule Poirot would say, see if you can use your little grey cells to solve the mystery.
If you would like to join us for our murder mystery evening, simply make a donation to our church charity here and we will send you the meeting link.
Virtual sales table
Our virtual sales table is still open with several items available including beautiful home-made Easter cards and craft kits for making Easter egg decorations. More details are available on our church charity page on our church website (see details below).
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.
What we’ve been reading lately
This week Sophie shares some of her favourite books:
“My favourite book is ‘Jessica has a heart operation’ because my mummy wrote the book and my sister and my family are in it.
I also like the Rainbow Magic fairy books because they’re about fairies and The Paper Dolls because it’s about a mother that makes her little girl paper dolls and then the little girl grows up to be a mother and helps her own little girl make some paper dolls.”
If you’d like to share which books you’ve been reading lately, or anything that you’ve been watching that is still available to view, please let Louise know so we can share them in future newsletters.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- North Harrow Methodist
- St Margaret’s & St George’s, Harlesden (URC/ Moravian)
The guarding of the God of life be on you,
the guarding of loving Christ be on you,
the guarding of Holy Spirit be on you
every night of your lives,
to aid you and enfold you
each day and night of your lives.