Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are all keeping well. Our church is 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 (email@example.com)
We start with our opening prayer:
God of gods and King of kings,
be with us as we seek to know more of your truth.
Speak to us by your Word and your Spirit.
Help us to see Jesus, and to hear his voice –
not just for today, but for all days,
and for the glory of your kingdom.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 14 November: Dream the Impossible Dream
Once again in these darkening days of November, our thoughts turn to remembrance of those who died in war. On the one hand, of course, we can reflect on the courage, the sacrifice, the valour and the medal so proudly worn today, but we are also well aware of the death, the suffering, the separation and the lasting sense of loss. They still suffer today. Those whose hearts still ache, those many women who lost the chance of marriage and motherhood, those whose hopes were destroyed, who have a space never to be filled.
An army chaplain in the First World War, Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy, known to his soldiers as Woodbine Willie, and incidentally the grandfather of the present vicar of St Andrew’s here, compiled this poem:
“Waste of Muscle, waste of Brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,
Waste of Goodness, waste of Wealth,
Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears,
Waste of Youth’s most precious years,
Forty-two million dead in World War I, sixty-two million in World War II and that’s not just service personnel, but civilians and children. We must remember though that the fight was for freedom and democracy in those two wars, for civilisation and decency. One of the mysteries to me is how a nation like Germany, with a history of music, literature, art and culture, could sink to such depths of brutality and depravity. Remember that the Nazis set out to destroy not just Jews, but gypsies, homosexuals and anyone of non-Aryan stock. The pictures of the Holocaust haunt us still.
One Nazi high-ranking officer wrote, “in later centuries when we will have a true measure of things as they are today, it will be said that Christ was great, but Adolf Hitler was greater.” And another said, “the question of the divinity of Christ is ridiculous and unessential. A new authority – Adolf Hitler – has arisen.” And Hitler himself on one occasion announced, “one is either a German or a Christian. You cannot be both. Do you really think that people will ever be Christian again. Never again. That story is finished.”
And when you think about that, and what might have been, then you see the meaning of ‘they gave their tomorrow that we might have today.’
At this present time we are much concerned with the future of our planet and what we are as humans doing to it. Climate change, global warming, the polar ice and the glaciers are melting, the level of the seas is rising, some islands may soon disappear; temperatures rise so that there are now wildfires and areas of drought, but freak weather brings floods and untold damage. In the long-run we may have to accept a much lower standard of living and a simpler form of life and that’s not welcome.
But what are the consequences of this for world peace? We are beginning to realise the situation can only be rescued if the nations of the world work together. The Glasgow summit in recent days has highlighted the difficulties and the possibilities. Each nation on its own can achieve little. International action is the only answer. So the great hope is that the countries will become closer, work together and unite in solving the problems. And in those circumstances, the thought of war fades. When people are up against a crisis, they pull together, although it’s not going to be easy.
In the book of Proverbs we find the saying, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV) But we have been given a vision, and it comes from time to time, from none other than Jesus himself, and it is part of that prayer that he asked us to say, and it is “thy kingdom come”. Or if I may paraphrase “may your kingdom come on earth as it already exists in heaven.” And that’s our vision. The kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, or Jerusalem, as we sometimes say, here on earth.
This kingdom, as we sang earlier, is justice and joy, mercy and peace, challenge and choice. It is the ideal state where God’s rule prevails, where people are in the right relationships, where swords are turned into ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks and armoured tanks into combine harvesters. For our vision is Jerusalem, to be built here in England’s green and sinful land, and all the nations of the world working together in harmony. It is, above all, that state of affairs where love prevails.
An impossible dream? Perhaps. But nothing less is good enough.
Earth shall be fair, and all her people one,
nor till that hour shall God’s whole will be done!
Now, even now, once more from earth to sky
peals forth in joy man’s old, undaunted cry,
“Earth shall be fair, and all her folk be one.”
So, dream that impossible dream, if you will. Amen.
Our readings for this week
John 18:33-37 (NIV)
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
- Psalm 93
- Revelation 1:4b-8
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 minister, Rev’d Julie King. 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.
21 November – Rev’d Julie King (Methodist minister)
28 November – Rev’d Dr Jonathan Hustler (Methodist minister) – communion service, 1st Sunday in Advent
5 December – Ms Catherine Wells (Methodist local preacher)
12 December – Christ Church worship group – parade and gift service
19 December – Christ Church worship group – carol service
Advent Bible exploration group
After the service on 28th November there will be a bring and share Advent Bible exploration grouDuring Advent, our Bible exploration group will be focusing on the ‘Watching and Waiting’ Advent course from the London District of the Methodist Church. The season of Advent represents a period of watching and waiting in anticipation of the arrival of Christ. During Advent we look back and celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God in the world; whilst also looking forward to his return at the end of time. This course is part of the ‘Woven’ theme that the District have been focusing on, which encourages us to engage in mission and discipleship as a way of life.
Our Bible exploration group meets on Tuesday evenings at 8pm at my house and online via Zoom. All are welcome. Please let me know if you are interested in attending.
Advent letter from the Synod Moderator
At the start of 2021 we were filled with hope. Nothing could be as challenging as the previous year…. could it? The miracle of the vaccination programme was beginning to be rolled out. Life would return to normal before too long. But, of course, it wasn’t until Easter that some churches re-opened and indeed many waited until much later in the year. Even then some members still feel uncomfortable about attending in person. Live streaming and Zoom services which had become very strange new phenomena for last year continue to play a central part in the life of many churches.
Last year was a wakeup call about some of the injustices in our world. Marcus Rashford used his status as a Premiership football player to highlight family food poverty. The Government very quickly, with the onset of the pandemic, ensured that some of the most vulnerable were supported through the Furlough Scheme and the additional Universal Credit top up payment of £20 – things that continued into this year. The death of George Floyd made the world stop and consider that Black Lives Matter. The stories of historical and contemporary discrimination and persecution opened our eyes to the reality of what it is like to be part of an ethnic minority group not just in other parts of the world but here in our own nation and local communities.
Over the last 20 months we have experienced as individuals, churches and communities some of the darkest of days and yet there have been some glorious glimmers of hope. And as 2021 comes to a close there is much to give thanks for, but the challenges continue, and the biggest frustration is that there are some times when it seems that we have forgotten the lessons learned.
I was excited about taking on my new role as Moderator. I came into post knowing that there would be joys and challenges… and that has certainly proven to be the case. The Spirit is at work in small and bigger ways through his people – you and me. The churches in Thames North Synod demonstrate that we are all one in Christ, whatever our background and whatever our age. But these have been, and continue to be, challenging times with Ministers under great pressure because of having to minister more widely as well as leading churches into a post pandemic world (and of course that also applies to Elders, Office Holders and volunteers generally) and churches are anxious about what the future holds.
As we move into the Advent season (again) it is an opportunity to rediscover hope. Surely God has given seasons like a heartbeat to keep us alive. Surely that is true of Advent with its important focus on hope. No doubt at the end of 2022 there will still be challenges but in the meantime we are called to live, share and proclaim the message of hope which is at the heart of the Scriptures, our faith and the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Myself and my family (Linda, Nathan, Emily, Jacob and Reuben) would like to wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Despite the frustrations of living and commuting from Surrey and searching for a new home, we can now look forward to moving to Watford in early December which will complete our new beginnings in Thames North Synod.
May the words of the prophet Isaiah encourage us all and fill us with hope as we finish 2021 and move into 2022.
A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
from his roots a budding Branch.
Rev’d George Watt
Church charity news
Table-top games afternoon – Sunday 28th November
After the service on 28th November there will be a bring and share lunch. This will be followed by a table-top games afternoon, starting at around 1.30pm, which will be our final fundraising activity for HOPE not hate. There is no charge to attend but we will have a collection jar for HOPE not hate available if you would like to give a donation towards our church charity. Alternatively, you can give a donation via our Virgin Money Giving page in the run-up to this event (please let us know by leaving a comment with your donation that this is for the table-top games afternoon so we can track the fundraising from this event). Please note that our Virgin Money Giving page will close on 30th November.
You can find more details about our church charity fundraising events and items on our virtual sales table at:
https://christchurchuxbridge.org.uk/activities/churchcharity2020/ To make a donation to our church charity online visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Hopenothate-Christchurch
Thank you from Yiewsley and West Drayton Foodbank
We would very much like to express our thanks to you all at Christ Church Uxbridge for your kind donation of 20.2kg of items during October 2021 to the Yiewsley & West Drayton Foodbank.
Your donations will make a big difference to local people in crisis and helps us to make up emergency food bags with enough nutritionally balanced food for 3 days. For a single person this equates to around 10kg of food, for a couple this is about 15kg and for a family of four, about 20kg or four large bags of shopping.
We are very grateful for your support enabling us to meet our vision to help those in need and to address the underlying causes of their poverty and hunger.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Northwood Methodist
- St John’s, Northwood URC
Loving God, you don’t have favourites,
Help us as we strive to live and love by your example.
As we meet people who aren’t our “favourite” people,
Remind us that we are all loved equally by you, and we are called to do the same.
Help us make every person we interact with feel like they are our favourite.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Kirsty-Ann Mabbott, taken from the URC Daily Devotion for Thursday 18 November 2021)