Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are all keeping well. Our church is now open for Sunday services but we will continue to live-stream our services and send out our newsletter regularly for the foreseeable future.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We start with our opening prayer:
Jesus, our living bread,
we have an appetite for you,
and we come wanting to feed on your word.
Jesus, you offer life to the world,
eternal life, raising us up on the last day.
Keep us hungry for you,
with the anticipation of a feast
of the finest food – food that brings life.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 1 August: What are you called to do?
Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16
Paul says to us, “what are you being called to do?” One of the catchphrases that’s been going around over the last few months is “be kind”. Be kind to each other. We’ve seen groups of people getting together to help others, setting up phone calls to check on the vulnerable or raising money to provide food for the homeless.
It was quite a good idea when supermarkets and some other stores set up special hours for NHS workers and those who were working in retail or carers who couldn’t get out in the normal times. However, at work we’ve found that people are now out and about in much larger numbers, but they’re still thinking about those special hours, such as half an hour before we’re actually open and even more awkwardly, just half an hour before we shut with a long shopping list.
This can cause consternation in the morning of course, because we haven’t had a chance to put out all the stock on the shelves yet. Do you remember at the beginning when you couldn’t get paracetamol anywhere and the hand sanitisers used to come in and bounce off the shelf? They never even got a chance to sit there for a moment, everyone came dashing in first thing in the morning to get them all. Now that’s happening with the NHS free testing kits. We were getting a box every day and all of a sudden, we went four whole days without getting any supply, and yesterday we got through a whole box in three hours.
And those things that we want to do. We want to have more freedom to go about, to go on holiday. We want to travel abroad and you have to arrange yourself a test before you can go abroad and what they want you do – red, amber, green – depends on where you want to go. I think I’m going to stay home at the moment! People have been having terrible trouble trying to book an appointment for a test. That expression ‘keep the peace’ in the beginning of that chapter. Keep the peace is very difficult when people are worried and anxious about what they’re trying to do. We are called to keep peace.
There’s just one Spirit and one Lord and one hope, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father and he calls us to be part of his family. When I was younger I went with a group of young people from our church on a mission. It was a long, long time ago and the question that the speaker kept on saying is “have you given your life to Jesus? Do you know God the Father?” I don’t know if we’d ask that question now? He could see that we, the people who had been brought along, had been brought along by youth leaders, Sunday School teachers and ministers and although we could get very noisy and we all knew the wrong words to the hymns, we were not too bad really. But we did need to make a decision: did we feel that we could follow Jesus and were we prepared to do something about it? Now, does anybody remember in these missions when they used to say, “If you feel that you are called to follow Jesus, what we want you to do is stand up where you are” And then the speaker said, “OK, you’ve actually got to do more than that. You’ve actually got to get out of your seat and come forward so that we can wave at you.”
We need to step out and start doing the things that God shows us to do. We might find ourselves doing things we never thought we could. There are things we could be doing now. I hope that you’ve found out what God has in mind for you. We’re travelling in the direction we’ve been shown. Maybe you can ask others in this church what they think your gift is, and be prepared to pray for each other as we work out what we’re doing to build God’s kingdom in our lives and in this place.
There are plenty of gifts going. Some of them sound very ambitious. To be apostles. All that means is that you’re following Jesus. To be prophets. All that means is that you’re telling people about what God has done. To be pastors. Now that’s a bit more difficult. In the United Reformed Church, you have to do long years of study and you have to learn what you’re doing and you have to find a church. There are plenty of churches looking for pastors and ministers at the moment; you have to look and find the place where you’re supposed to be.
There are teachers. To help build up the people in the church. But we have that faith and the knowledge of Jesus to help us to grow. We’re given every chance to learn. And we’re all part of one body, one family. The person at the top is Jesus. And because of the love he has for each one of us, we can actually grow and learn and start doing things. Now it might be a simple task like doing the washing up or making the tea. God has given us a job to do. We just need to discover exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.
Reflection from 8 August: Climate Sunday
Readings: Psalm 104: 1,10–26 and Mark 4: 1–10, 13–20
Our readings from Psalm 104 and Mark 4 vary in many ways: their purpose, their setting, and when they were written, are all noticeably different. But they also have a lot in common.
Both passages demonstrate an intimate knowledge of creation. The psalmist describes the beauty of creation, declaring, ‘O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all.’ The author understood how creation works. They knew where the birds nest, and where the mountain goats live, the great skill of a lion as it hunts its prey, and the vast array of creatures living in the water. They knew creation intimately: they must have spent time observing and learning how all things fit together, and they were inspired to worship as a result!
In verse 31 of the psalm, just after the part we’ve heard this morning, it says God rejoices in his creation. The beauty and variety of all he’s made brings God joy! Similarly, in our New Testament passage from Mark, Jesus demonstrates his own detailed understanding of creation. He describes the issues that can hinder the growth of crops: he knows how drought can cause plants to wither, or how rocky ground prevents the development of roots. Even though he was a carpenter by trade, he knew the importance of nutritious soil for a bountiful harvest. Jesus has an intimate knowledge of the workings of creation.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to us; the Bible tells us how all things were created for Jesus and by Jesus. In him, all things hold together: he’s Lord of all creation. It’s not a surprise that Jesus considers it important to observe the creation around us.
But Jesus shows us something else too. He teaches us that not only does he have an intimate relationship with creation, but that also we can learn about our heavenly Father through it. Whether it’s through the relentlessness of weeds, the character of birds or the power of a mustard seed, time and again, Jesus points to the Father and the way he works through creation.
We live in a busy world and often fail to take time to observe creation, but as the writer of Proverbs advises, ‘Go to the ant… consider its ways.’
From the psalms to the gospels, we see the ways creation can reveal more of God’s character and inspire us to worship, and we see how God delights and finds joy in all he’s made!
But when we look at the world today, we can see the many ways that we’ve damaged this beautiful gift God has given us. The ways that we live and work and consume have pushed creation to breaking point.
Whether it’s plastic pollution littering seas and the poorest communities, or species going extinct at record rates, or the climate crisis making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and severe, we’ve misused and damaged this beautiful gift of God. We’re feeling some of the effects in the UK, but the impacts are hitting people in poverty the hardest.
It’s hard to grasp what that really means: it’s big and abstract. So let me introduce you to Orbisa (https://vimeo.com/462660499)
Around the world, millions of people like Orbisa are being pushed back into poverty because of climate change. In 2016, world hunger started to increase for the first time in a decade and has continued to increase every year since. And that’s because of climate change and conflict, with climate change exacerbating the risk of conflict.
The science is clear: the climate crisis is being caused by us, especially us in developed nations, and the impacts are accelerating. We are running out of time to prevent the worst effects. We have to act fast and change the way we live, and governments have to be much more ambitious. But right now, we have a unique window of opportunity. How the government chooses to rebuild after the pandemic will shape our economy, climate and society in the decades to come. This is a crucial moment.
In the Bible Jesus tells us the most important commandments are to love God, and to love our neighbours. Tackling the climate crisis is vital to both of these – honouring God by protecting his creation and loving our global neighbours who are hit first and worst by what is now a climate emergency.
So how can we respond? To answer that question, let’s turn to Esther in the Old Testament. In the face of a crisis, she responds with faith and courage.
In the book of Esther, the Persian king makes plans to wipe out the Jews, but Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, warns her about the plan. Esther’s response to the news of the threat to her people is remarkable. She tells Mordecai to gather people together to pray and fast. While they do so, she will approach the king and ask him to reconsider – even though she knows that it is against the law and she could lose her life.
In chapter 4 she says to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’
Esther teaches us that following Jesus requires us to speak up against injustice, even when it’s costly to ourselves – and that we should act from a foundation of prayer.
As part of Climate Sunday, churches are being asked to consider how they might take the next step to commit to action in creation. So, as we listen to this poem [by Tim Baker] about climate justice, perhaps we can consider how we should respond both individually and as a church.
Do I love you when I burn my carbon?
Do I love you when I burn my carbon?
Do I proclaim
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,
And then just bin it.
Not recycling, or up cycling, or even gone-out cycling,
But landfill it,
Do I love you when I burn my carbon?
Every time I turn my car on,
And pour more petrol into the tank,
Blanking out the plankton I’m killing,
Ozone layer I’m filling with toxic fumes,
The plumes of smoke.
Doom looms and yet,
The lupins in the garden still bloom,
So I don’t seem to worry.
What’s the hurry?
‘All things come into being through him’, I say,
Then every single day, betray the truth in that verse.
My ignorance for the planet is perverse,
A reverse of what I believe about God’s love for the whole of creation.
My recreation is an undoing of God’s own creation,
A misdirection of the conception of God in Christ Jesus – God with us.
Do I love you when I burn my carbon?
And my actions add to the inequality,
Affecting the quality of life,
Adding to the strife
Of the husband and wife I met
How can I say the things I say
About the way we must live,
And still burn my carbon?
Show me how to change,
In the face of climate change.
The pace of change accelerating, the exasperating realisation
That creation might not be here to stay…
Show me another way.
To show real love.
Not just feel-love,
For the whole earth.
And real grit.
Show me how to love, O God,
And not just burn my carbon.
Stephanie Marr (adapted from Tearfund climate church talk and The Vine Climate Sunday service)
Our readings for this week
John 6:51-58 (NIV)
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’
53 Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live for ever.’
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Proverbs 9:1-6
- Psalm 34:9-14
- Ephesians 5:15-20
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. This week’s service will be led by Methodist local preacher, Joanne Davies. You can find the order of service here.
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.
22 August – Christ Church worship group
29 August – Rev’d Dr Claire Potter (Methodist minister) – communion service
5 September – Christ Church worship group
12 September – Mrs Angela Lount (Methodist local preacher)
10.00 am to 12.00 noon.
Re-commencing Saturday 4th September
Run by and for Church and Charity groups.
Tuesdays and Thursdays
10.00 am to 2.00 pm
Re-commencing Tuesday 14th September
A reduced menu to start with.
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Church charity news
Church social at Tiled Lodge – 14 August, 1pm
Please join us for a bring your own picnic on Saturday 14 August, 1pm at Tiled Lodge, Slough Road, Iver Heath SL0 0DZ. There will be shelter available in case of rain. There is no charge but donations for our church charity are welcomed. There will be a collection pot available, or you can donate online via our JustGiving page (see details below)
You can find more details about our church charity fundraising events and items on our virtual sales table on our church website here.
To make a donation to our church charity online visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Hopenothate-Christchurch
Fifty years ago
In the late 1960s talks between the Methodist and Congregational Churches in Uxbridge led to a decision to unite. The main reasons for this were falling attendances and high building expenses. Providence Congregational Church was demolished in 1968, and the Borough Council offered a site off the new Redford Way in exchange.
In September 1970 architect R R Williams prepared a scheme for a pyramid-roofed building on that site, and this was approved by both congregations. The firm of Fassnidge was given the contract to build the new church, and construction began in June 1971.
Fifty years ago this month the new church was beginning to rise, and a garden party held in August was one of the ways in which the two sides were getting to know one another.
There were three of us all between 12-13 years of age. Tim Smith, Guy Pearce and myself. We liked making things. It started with paper kits which we used to fly up on the Common as there are updrafts there.
It was a bit awkward to have to clear every time in the middle of cutting out. One day a gentleman was watching us fly on the Common and asked where we were making the kites and we told him of our problems. He said his name was ‘Ward’ and that he had a building business in Wellington Road and that he had a spare room which we could use. It had a large bench in the centre – absolutely what was required.
Having gone through the paper stage, it then came to the cloth material. Most churches in those days had jumble sales. My mother was involved with these sales at Old Meeting House church. After the sale there was always a lot left over. I looked for the summer shirts or dresses where I was able to cut fairly large pieces which I could cut out the panels. We were able to make six feet kites which flew well. A little later we went over to rubber-powered mobile aircraft.
Job Vacancy – Part-time bookkeeper
The main duties will involve:
- Keeping a record of all income and expenditure
- Arranging reimbursements of approved expenses for church members
- Arranging reimbursements of expenses/allowances of visiting preachers
- Producing summaries of financial information for church meetings
- Preparing information for auditors
- Monthly reporting to the church treasurer or specified church elder
- Additional bookkeeping duties as required
Applicants are sought with relevant experience, computer literacy and sympathy with the aims of the Church.
The post is for 2 hours a week (worked flexibly Monday – Friday)
Proposed start date: October 2021
Salary of £10.85 per hour
An application pack is available from the church office
Closing date for applications: 5pm on Monday 6 September 2021
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Ruislip Methodist
- Gerrards Cross URC
Lord Jesus, you feed us with your word and with our daily food. We thank you for interweaving your life with ours, being an unseen guest at every meal. Help us to be grateful for all we eat and drink, for the nutrition we receive to give us strength for life. As we eat, may we also be reminded that you are part of us, life giving, always within us. By the power of your Holy Spirit, may we share your word of life with others.
(Taken from Roots)