Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are keeping well and staying safe. 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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We start with our opening prayer:
Lord of life, bring peace and safety to our world, in particular to the places of the world where laws have been leveraged for revenge and gain.
Open paths of reconciliation and heal the brokenness,
Repair the war torn cities and countries and make a way for those who have been displaced to find a place to call home again.
We pray for the 65 million plus refugees around the world who are on their journey.
Lord, whose Son became a refugee and had no place to call his own; look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
Bless those who work to bring them relief.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
(Matthew Forsyth, from The Vine)
Reflection from 13 March
Readings: Luke 13:31-35 and Philippians 3:17-4:1
Two animals were mentioned in today’s reading from Luke. A fox and a hen. What do we think of when we think of a fox, what are their characteristics? They’re beautiful creatures. I always wish they could be tamed because they’re so beautiful looking, but yes, they’re fierce and they kill, wantonly without really needing to kill, and we also think of them as being cunning and sly and devious, don’t we?
What about hens? What do we think of the characteristics of a hen? Well, they’re known for sitting on their nest on their eggs and they’re thought of as being very motherly, aren’t they?
We often talk about a mother hen don’t we as someone who looks after the brood of chickens or chicks. I don’t know if this works with hens but with ducks you get this picture of all the little ducklings following the duck, don’t you? So they’re leaders and mothers and makers of homes.
I remembered at least a couple of stories about foxes and hens. One says the fox talked the hen into singing and then when she closed her eyes to sing he grabbed her and it was only through her quick thinking that she managed to escape. Another is about a fox who sneaked up quietly behind a little red hen. In this case, the fox grabbed the little red hen and put her in his bag, thinking she would be tasty. But inside the bag, the hen remembered that she had some scissors with her, so when the fox stopped for a rest, the hen cut a hole in the bag, slipped out and put a stone inside so that when the fox got home there was just a stone there.
Both of those hens were too smart for the sly old fox. And Jesus is that reading talked about Herod as a fox. Herod was the ruler of the area, the ruler of Galilee under the Roman occupiers. He liked to be thought of as a Jewish leader, but the people weren’t really convinced about that. He was a slippery character, which is why Jesus called him the fox. And the Pharisees, the religious leaders right at the beginning of that reading, were telling Jesus that Herod wants to kill him because of the things that Jesus had been saying that they didn’t like.
“Go to that fox,” Jesus says, “I’m going to keep on helping and healing people today, tomorrow and the next day.”
Jesus is not going to give up. Can anyone else here remember singing a chorus about yesterday, today, forever?
Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus is the same,
All may change, but Jesus never!
Glory to His name.
I can remember singing that as a young person. And Jesus says that he’s like the hen. He says, “How often have I longed to gather you children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings?”
And he still gathers. He’s gathered us today. And he will go on gathering us today and forever. The hen overcomes the fox.
In response to Jesus being our connection with God, our explanation of God yesterday, today and forever, Paul urges the people in Philippi and urges us now to follow his example. Paul is somebody who spends his energy on following Jesus. He’s still got a living to make. He’s like most of us here. Most people still have work to do, a job to do, and money to make to live. Paul was a tent-maker, but otherwise his time was spent on proclaiming Jesus and encouraging other Christians even when he was in prison because of doing that.
And so, he encourages us to be kind and compassionate and helpful and sharing, and not be to be unkind or spiteful, or unhelpful, or selfishly think just about ourselves. These are some qualities which might apply to us if we’re doing this and following Jesus; putting Jesus up front and centre in our lives.
- To be hopeful
- To be loving
- To be humble
- To be generous.
- To be compassionate.
- To have resilience, being able to bounce back from difficulties
- To be courageous
And Paul tells us that our citizenship as Christian people is in heaven. We’ve got a second passport. If you already got a passport from some country or countries, we as Christians have got another passport. We have a second passport in heaven as an ambassador, a spreader of the good news and whatever age we are, we are to do that in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
And it just reminded me, as we’re having a parade service this morning and we’ve got the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade here, it reminded me of words associated with both Brigades. The Girls’ Brigade: “Seek, serve and follow Christ.”
That’s what we’re asked to do. That’s what Paul was urging those Christians in Philippi to do and what the Bible is urging us to do today.
“Sure and steadfast.” It’s on the Boys’ Brigade badge and it comes from a verse in Hebrews that says, “this hope we have as anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast”, and so that’s our job as Christians, carriers of the good news, every one of us, whatever our circumstances, whatever our age.
As we are loved by Jesus, yesterday, today and forever, so we should rejoice in his love and follow him and love and serve others as he did. Amen.
Readings for 20 March
Luke 13:1-9 (NIV)
Repent or Perish
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Isaiah 55:1-9
- Psalm 63:1-8
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
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 members of Christ Church exploring what makes us Christian. 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.
20 March – Christ Church worship group
27 March – Rev’d Dr Jonathan Hustler (Methodist minister) – communion service
3 April – Christ Church worship group
10 April – Mrs Cathy Smith (Methodist local preacher) – Palm Sunday
Lent Course – Growing Good
The ‘Growing Good’ course helps churches explore the connection between social action, discipleship and growth. Through reflection, discussion, film and prayer we will explore how our churches can be faithful and fruitful in our local communities.
Our Lent course is held in the chapel on Saturday mornings, 10am – 11.15am until 9 April and will be followed by the weekly time of prayer. All are welcome.
Church charity news
Family film afternoon – Saturday 9th April, 1pm
We will be having another family film afternoon on Saturday 9th April at 1pm. There will be popcorn and other refreshments available. There is no charge to attend the film afternoon but if you would like to make a donation to Halo Children’s Foundation, you can do so online or through our collection on the day.
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
From the Methodist Circuit
The latest Circuit Life newsletter is now available from the Harrow & Hillingdon Methodist Circuit, You can find it online here.
The first Sunday Schools
Sunday Schools began to appear at the end of the 18th century, and it seems that a number of people about that time had the same idea of providing some education for children who had no schooling whatsoever. Families with money could educate their children; the rest had almost nothing. Indeed many children went to work as soon as they were able, and there were no laws to stop them.
In1784 the Methodist preacher John Wesley recorded in his Journal that Sunday Schools were springing up everywhere. In 1792 the first school in Uxbridge opened. Rev Thomas Beasley and his wife Phoebe had arrived at the Old Meeting House to commence their ministry. The main object was to teach the children to read, albeit in a church setting. There were morning and afternoon sessions. Reading and learning by heart featured strongly – usually passages from the Bible. There was singing too, a new experience for many, and they revelled in it. The whole Sunday School experience was so enjoyable that many were reluctant to go home at the end of a session. The teachers had no proper training, but they were good kind people, doing their best to help the youngsters.
The children were encouraged to respect their parents and help them, to keep from stealing, lying and swearing, to care for animals and birds, to say prayers night and morning, and to be polite and orderly. They were expected to be clean and neat. I know of one school where the children were given a free brush and comb if they didn’t have them. The effects were soon recognised as being beneficial to society.
The churches were soon inspired to consider day schools. A National Society was set up by the Church of England to promote them, and a British Society by the Nonconformists (Baptists, Congregationalists and Methodists) to do the same. Both Societies set up church schools here in Uxbridge, but Sunday Schools continued to exist well into the 20th century.
Rev and Mrs Beasley are remembered today by Beasley’s Yard, which runs up by the side of McDonalds branch. There are memorial plaques to Thomas and Phoebe on the wall in the yard. The nearby church has been altered and enlarged, and today is known as Watts Hall. It is part of the Christ Church premises.
What goes on in there?
Two friends walked past a building one day
and one of them was heard to say,
“What goes on in there? What do they do?”
The other said, “I’ve not a clue.
It’s something called The Boys’ Brigade;
do not know much about it I’m afraid.
I know they speak of God a bit,
sing hymns and say some prayers.
To me it sounds as much fun
as falling down the stairs!”
The other said, “Oh! No! That’s not for me
It’s not my sort of thing.
I’ll tell you right here and now
that’s one doorbell I won’t ring!”
The next time they were passing
The door was open wide.
“I know”, said one, “let’s creep in
and see what we find inside.
This they did and almost at once
a new world opened before their eyes;
all sorts of things going on;
did they both get a surprise!
Easy things for the younger ones,
Older ones set tasks that required
skills they may need to hone.
“Wow”, they said, “this is much more fun
than sitting on a wall
pushing buttons on a ‘phone.”
Then they heard of the days out,
the camping, the canal on a barge;
their heads were nearly bursting.
Said one, “I think I want to sing.
Someone, please remind me
Where’s that doorbell I want to ring?”
The other stood and listened
To what he had to say;
“Don’t worry”, he said,
“Our friendship will not fade,
For I feel the same as you;
I think we both are very pleased
we found The Boys’ Brigade.”
Mick Hopgood, former member of 1st Uxbridge Boys’ Brigade, now retired and living in Devon.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Pinner Methodist
- Ickenham URC
At this time know that God goes with you
The God that is refuge and strength
The God that knows what it is to be human and divine
The God who knows you and cares for you
The God who shows you how to live
Take your understanding of the God whom we love and share it with others so that
they too can witness to his wondrous love.
(Taken from The Vine)