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. We’ll be taking a break from sending out the newsletter over the Christmas period and the next newsletter will be the 7 January. Wishing you all blessings for the festive period and may the year ahead be a good one.
You can find previous issues of the newsletter on our church website at www.christchurchuxbridge.org.uk 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:
In the waiting and preparing,
In the final touches and frantic cooking and cleaning,
Amongst the parties and the presents,
Look out for the presence of the Holy One this week.
God is here, this advent.
May we come to know the divine, moving through, in and around us this Christmas season. Amen.
(Adapted from The Vine)
Reflection from 12 December – What is in a gift?
Readings: Luke 3:7-18
So what is your perfect gift? What is top of your Christmas list?
Who is expecting that they will get the perfect gift or is it out of reach?
John the Baptist was expectant, he was waiting for the perfect gift, He was waiting for the Messiah, for Jesus. He was telling the people to wait for Jesus even though some thought he was the one.
We are halfway through December nearly. Some will still be busy doing our preparations, buying presents, ordering and buying food, making travel arrangements, putting up decorations. Others will have it all done, some like me will still have lots to do. However we have stopped just for a moment today to bring gifts for the children and young adults – refugees and other children and young adults in need. Those who may not have very much, who may have left virtually everything behind.
If you had to leave home suddenly, probably never to return what would you pack, knowing you would have to carry it for miles, walking all the way?
There has been a lot in the news over the last few months about refugees fleeing war torn places such as Afghanistan and Belarus or trying to cross the Channel in tiny boats. You can feel really hopeless watching that. However, when we bring a gift, we can feel a little better and we hope that our gift will make others feel a little better too.
We are going to now bring our gifts to the front. If you don’t have a physical gift you can leave a donation.
Let us pray:
For all we have received, for all the grace that is at work in our lives, for the gift of this waiting season, we give you thanks Lord God. May you help us to steward and use these gifts for the glory of your name and the building of your Kingdom. Amen
John the Baptist had a bit more to say, however. People were asking what can we do? He asked the man to share his surplus clothes; the tax man not to collect more tax than they should and soldiers to not falsely accuse or extort money. In other words, to live honestly and generously. This is not just about money and giving things but also about our actions and intentions.
So as part of our Christmas preparations maybe we can think about our gift to Jesus this Christmas, after all it is his birthday and you would usually give the birthday boy a present. What can you give? The song that was playing [In the bleak midwinter] as the gifts were brought up speaks of giving ourselves. What does that mean?
As I researched a little about of the charities that help refugees. I noticed some of the things they offer. It’s not just food, water and a safe bed or even a Christmas gift. They offer counselling for those traumatised by war or the circumstances that led them to be a refugee. They have tracing services to help reunite families especially children that have arrived without family. They offer English lessons, maths lessons among other things. So giving is not just money or a gift like some have done today but for some it will be of their time and skills to help offer these services.
When we pray for the collection of money we have taken in this church, we often pray a prayer of thanks for the time and skills people also give to the church and the community. You can see this in the Bible from John the Baptist, Paul, Peter and Jesus that loving faith is all encompassing. This makes our birthday gift to Jesus “US” – ourselves and our time, talents and expertise, as well as our money and things.
Readings for 19 December
Luke 1:39-45 (NIV)
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Micah 5:2-5a
- Psalm 80:1-7
- Hebrews 10:5-10
Readings for 25 December
Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- John 1:1-14
- Isaiah 52:7-10
- Psalm 98
- Hebrews 1:1-4
Readings for 26 December
Luke 2:41-52 (NIV)
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
- Psalm 148
- Colossians 2:41-52
Readings for 2 January
John 1:1-18 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 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 recognize 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 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
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 our carol service led by members of Christ Church. 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.
19 December – Christ Church worship group – carol service
25 December – Mr Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and member of Christ Church) – Christmas Day service (10.30am)
26 December – Christ Church worship group (online service only). Please note there will be no service in the church building on this day.
2 January 2022 – Rev’d Dr Leão Neto – communion and covenant service.
9 January 2022 – Christ Church worship group – parade service
16 January 2022 – Christ Church worship group – Inclusive Church service
Stepwise Faith-Filled Life
We are planning on starting a Stepwise Faith-Filled Life course at Christ Church on Tuesday 18 January 2022. Stepwise is a discipleship programme from the URC, which provides an opportunity to explore who you are, where you fit and how to move forward in your faith.
The course will be held fortnightly on Tuesday evenings with approximately eight sessions lasting around 2 hours each. There is a small amount of work to be done between sessions and by holding this every other week we hope people can use the other week to do that preparation. It will run in a hybrid format so you can join in person or via Zoom. The location of the in-person group will be decided based on where people are based and available hosts.
If you are interested in joining this course, please speak to Joanne Mackin.
Disasters Emergency Committee Afghanistan Appeal
This week the Committee have announced an appeal to help the people of Afghanistan. The Committee, comprising 15 aid charities including Christian Aid, have posted the following on their website:
Afghanistan is heading for catastrophe this winter. Children are dying today, and a million more under the age of five are at risk of dying over the next three months. We need to act now to save lives.
More than eight million people are on the brink of famine. Years of conflict, the Covid-19 pandemic, a change of government and the worst drought in 27 years have led to catastrophic hunger. The situation will only get worse as the freezing weather sets in.
We must act now to save lives. DEC charities are already on the ground providing lifesaving aid, scaling up their operations and reaching those most in need.
We urgently need your help to:
- Deliver emergency food and cash to hungry families
- Provide urgent nutrition to young children and mothers
- Support healthcare facilities to treat malnutrition
- Provide winter kits to help displaced families stay warm
The Outreach Committee and Church Council have agreed that the church will donate £250 from our funds. This could provide blankets for 10 people this winter and emergency food for 3 months for 2 families. We would encourage you to head to the website and make your own donations, too. The Government will match donations up to £10 million.
Find out more at:
Church charity news
A huge thank you to everyone who donated gifts at our gift service last Sunday. The gift items have now been given to Hillingdon Refugee Support Group and Slough Salvation Army to be passed on to those in need. We also raised £118 for Action for Children from the envelope collection.
You can find more details about HALO Children’s Foundation, our church charity for 2022 at:
To make a donation to our church charity online visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christ-church-halo2022
Greetings from 1st Uxbridge BB
After all the problems in 2020, I am glad to say that this year (so far) has been more or less back to normal. We finally restarted face-to-face meetings back in April, albeit with a few changes, as we were only meeting two of our age groups each week to help with restrictions and staffing, but it was great to get back to doing our normal activities with our boys. We continued to meet right through until the end of the session and managed to get all our boys together for a (smaller than usual), last meeting and awards evening, which we held outside. Unfortunately, we were unable to have our usual Company Display or end of session family Barbeque, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can have them at the end of this session. We have booked the dates!
We restarted fully in September and have continued to meet each week since then. Some of our boys enjoyed a fun afternoon of activities run by the London District, at Felden Lodge at the end of September, and our Company and Senior boys enjoyed a day on the canal at the end of October.
We were happy that we could have our Firework party again on 5th November. We are lucky enough to have a fairly large car park and we can let off our fireworks (low noise) with the youngsters at a safe distance.
This year we invited the Girls’ Brigade and had a very large number enjoying the fireworks followed by sparklers, toasting marshmallows, and soup and rolls to finish.
As our church is now holding regular services, we have been able to restart our Church Parades, and once again we supported the civic service in Uxbridge, attending the Remembrance service at the Peace Memorial in Uxbridge and laying a wreath on behalf of BB and GB.
The Company has continued to grow this year with another 4 new members since September, and we now have more boys than we have had for a long time, which is great to see, especially in our Anchors, with 10 boys each week you can imagine it is a lively time.
We are also glad to report that we have 3 of our Seniors who are now working towards their Presidents Badge, as well as their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award. We are also looking forward to presenting the Company’s first GOLD AWARD to our young Warrant Officer, James Bowman sometime soon. Another landmark in the Company’s history.
We are again holding our coffee mornings at Christ Church again to help raise some money for the company and our last coffee morning in December raised over £70 that we will be sending to help the young boy we sponsor in the Gambia. We have another 4 booked in for 2022
We have recently updated our Company website which can be found at www.1stuxbridgeboysbrigade.org.uk and details of a sponsored child can be found on our website at http://1stuxbridgeboysbrigade.weebly.com/our-sponsored-child.html
For those on Facebook, we regularly update our page. You can follow us at www.facebook.com/1stuxbridgebb for all our updates, news, and photos of activities from our boys. You can also find our church services on Facebook streamed live each week and you can find them and more news from the Church at www.facebook.com/christchurchuxbridge
And so as 2021 draws to a close, we look forward to 2022 and the Company’s 70th year. We are hoping that we will be able to mark our anniversary in some way and will be in touch with details. In the meantime you may like to know the following dates:
- 1st July 2022 – Company Display (with GB)
- 8th July 2022 – Awards evening (with GB)
- 15th July 2022 – Family barbeque (with GB)
We look forward to 2022 with hope and, once again, whatever happens we will continue to advance Christ’s Kingdom among boys in the 1st Uxbridge Company.
Wishing you and your family a Happy Christmas
With greetings from us all at 1st Uxbridge Company
Stay well, stay safe and stay connected,
Paul Edgeworth (Company Captain)
News from the URC
URC 50th Anniversary Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving
Free tickets are now available for the United Reformed Church (URC’s) 50th Anniversary Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving taking place on 1 October 2022, at Methodist Central Hall Westminster, London. The venue is where the Uniting Assembly of the URC took place in 1972. The intergenerational Communion service is free and open to all in the URC. To ensure adequate provision is made, tickets for under 5s, 5-11s, 11-18s, and wheelchair users are available. Find all you need to know and how to book tickets at https://urc.org.uk/urc-50th-anniversary-service-tickets-available/
Can you find these words from Mary’s story, hidden in the word search?
Praying for other churches
We hold the following churches in our prayers over the festive period:
w/c 19 December 2021
- South Harrow Methodist
- St Margaret’s & St George’s, Harlesden (URC/Moravian)
w/c 26 December 2021
- Trinity (URC/Methodist)
w/c 2 January 2022
- Wealdstone Methodist
- Wembley Park URC
May the joy of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
the worship of the wise men,
and the peace of the Christ child
be yours this Christmas. Amen.