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 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 (email@example.com)
We start with our opening prayer:
Creator God, you have called us to worship you,
chosen us to be your friends
and invited us to extend that friendship
to your people in all the world.
May we live as Jesus lived,
serve as he served,
and love as he loved,
to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 2 May: Stay connected!
Reading: John 15:1-8
In October 2013 a boat carrying over 500 refugees fleeing from persecution in Eritrea and Somalia sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa, near Tunisia. Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter living on the island, met some of the survivors in church and made a cross for each of them out of the wreckage from their boat. Pope Francis asked Francesco to make him a cross to carry at a memorial service. He also made one for the British Museum. Francesco saw his crosses as symbols of hope and love.
Truly a community that stays connected to Christ is – like Jesus’ true vine – held by his love and strong enough to embrace the world. One such (the subject of an article in April Reform) would appear to be the Open Table Network. This started as a group in Liverpool, linked with Changing Attitude, a group campaigning for LGBT equality in the Church of England. Significantly the new group wasn’t just concerned with campaigning but also with worship, (and sacramental – Communion- worship).
‘For us’ says their spokesperson Kieran Bohan ‘the core activity is a communion service or perhaps an agape meal where there’s a simple retelling of Jesus’ last meal with his friends, and how that’s a model for self-giving love. It’s not just about coming to an event, it‘s about hospitality and community.’
Open Table and its LGBT connections may not be for everyone, but I would suggest that the broad implications of its message are. Sexuality may not be the only subject that needs more open discussion in church circles. Critiquing society and being open to all who are in need is basic to the Gospel message.
This time last year we were in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. We were encouraged, urged, and, for a time, required to stay at home. But we may want to press this a bit further.
How actually, here in Christ Church, do we ‘stay at home/abide’ with God? Perhaps by prayer and Bible study – things we can do without entering a church building.
The purpose in recent months was to protect the NHS and save lives. Jesus’ two-fold aim as we know from our Bible passage, is:
a) That we might grow
b) That we might bear fruit.
Importantly, he says none of this is possible unless we remain
a) Connected with him
b) Connected with each other… like branches on a vine.
During the lockdown people found new ways to stay connected. Churches (like your own here at Christ Church) found new ways to ‘be’ and new ways to worship together, and also new ways to stay at home with God. And so the question arises: What have we here today learnt from those experiences? And are there yet new ways of connecting to explore?
My friends, perhaps in the past few months, with all the trouble there has been, you and I have felt a bit semi-detached from Jesus. Now in this wonderful Easter season, with things in nature and society beginning to open up again, there is a great chance to take the opportunity to become once again fully connected! I pray that we all can. Amen.
Rev’d Andrew McLuskey
Our readings for this week
John 15:9-17 (NIV)
9 ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: love each other.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Acts 10:44-48
- Psalm 98
- 1 John 5:1-6
We meet at 11am for our Sunday services, which are also live-streamed on our Facebook page. 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. Our service this week will be led by Neil Mackin.
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.
Christian Aid Week 2021
This year’s Christian Aid Week is 10th – 16th May. We will be having a retiring collection for Christian Aid during our service on 16th May. You can also donate online to Christian Aid through our church e-envelope here.
Virtual Beetle Drive – Saturday 15th May, 7pm
As part of our fundraising for Christian Aid Week we are hosting a virtual beetle drive on Zoom on Saturday 15th May at 7pm. If you would like to join us for this, simply make a donation to Christian Aid via our e-envelope and then email Louise (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the meeting link.
There may well be blue birds flying over the white cliffs of Dover
Looking down on my lorry in the line
I’m doing my best
To get a negative test
So I can return to that country of mine
They say it’s good luck when it poops on your truck
Yet so far my windows are clean
I’ve bribed it with bread
But the guy just ahead
Is throwing millet on pastures green
Please sing me a ditty, entertain me a bitty
Raise my spirits with your melody so fine
Take a message to June
Say I’ll be home just as soon
As I’ve passed through this speed free line!
The Festival of Britain
The Festival of Britain was launched 70 years ago this month. The main events in London were based on the South Bank, where the Festival Hall was opened.
Here in Uxbridge the occasion was marked by ‘A Service of Praise and Dedication’ held in the Fassnidge Recreation Ground, and organised by all the local churches. The singing was led by the Salvation Army band seated in the bandstand. The address was given by Rev’d Luther Bouch, minister of Old Meeting church. One of the prayers began: ‘O God, grant us a vision of our town as it might be; a place of righteousness where none shall wrong his neighbour; a place where evil and want shall be done away; a place where honour shall be done to all; where success will be measured by service; a place of peace where order shall rest on the love of all for the common life. ‘
What we’ve been reading lately
This week Jean Wilson-Main shares what she’s been reading:
“The Story of my Life by Helen Keller.
At the moment I’m reading, among other things, the autobiography of Helen Keller. A marvellous woman, who, with the help of her wonderful teacher, Anne Sullivan, achieved many things which people with normal senses can only dream about. She was, for example, the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Art degree.
Her descrIptions of how she interacts with things without being able to see them is very interesting and fascinating. She noticed things which many people don’t. Being without much sense of smell, due to an accident, my own fault, when young, which damaged the sensory nerves in my nose, I particularly enjoy her nature writings.
She is very sensitive to other people also. She’s concerned about the poor and those, like her, who are blind or blind and deaf. Reading her numerous letters is a great experience and I can recommend them to everyone. She noticed so much more than most people with normal senses appear to.
Anyhow, I still haven’t finished reading the letters yet but can say nevertheless that this is an interesting read and very enjoyable.”
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.
Reminiscences of an organist: Part 4 – Home again
Despite happy times spent in Boston, Mass. it was good to be back in London again. Once again ‘chance’ played a part. A visit with a friend to a hostelry in Knightsbridge resulted in my meeting an associate of Felton Rapley (a former theatre organist) who, I was informed, was retiring from Chappells music publishers. A successor was needed – was I interested? In short, following interviews etc. and a brief period of ‘sitting next to Nellie’, I became a staff arranger at Chappells. I enjoyed the work hugely (mainly popular hits of the moment) and got to know several people in the business. However, as is the way of the world, Chappells was soon taken over by another organisation and I, along with several other staff members, decided to seek pastures new. During this period I became organist at St John’s Notting Hill and, a decade later, having moved to Wembley Park, organist at St Nicholas Church in Hayes. Notable dates in my organ performing schedule were the summers of 1978 and 1979 when I gave an evening recital in Westminster Abbey and a Sunday afternoon organ recital in Notre Dame Paris. Lots happening.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold Trinity (URC & Methodist) in our prayers.
Gracious God, use me, use us, use each one of us, to build communities, churches and a whole world of love. Help us to re-learn how to love each other, in Jesus’ name.
(Taken from The Vine)