Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are keeping well and staying safe. Our newsletter is sent out regularly to share reflections from services, Bible readings and church news to our church family.
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:
Thank you, God, that you have been with us
all the way through our lives.
Thank you for your promises for the future.
Thank you that you are with us now.
We rejoice in your presence. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 5 June: Transformation
Reading: Acts 2:1-21
At the very start of our reading this morning, the disciples have gathered together in one place. I wonder how they were feeling at that point in time. I imagine they would have been feeling quite uncertain after the rollercoaster events leading up to this point – Jesus’s death, his resurrection and then after a short time of being reunited with him, Jesus ascends to heaven and the disciples are alone once more. Waiting, as Jesus told them to do, for the gift promised to them – the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And as they gathered together, suddenly the Holy Spirit comes upon them in wind and tongues of fire, and they are transformed. Suddenly able to speak words that all around them can hear and understand, transformed from followers to leaders, with the courage to go out and share what they have learned from Jesus further afield.
Pentecost is sometimes thought of as being the birthday of the church. At this point in the church year, we look back to the start of the Christian church and its mission to the world.
Looking back is something we’ve been doing more this year with various anniversaries taking place at the moment. This weekend, of course, has seen all the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, looking back and celebrating HM The Queen’s 70 years on the throne. We have other anniversaries within our church taking place this year. Our Boys’ Brigade company also will be marking 70 years this year. The United Reformed Church is celebrating their 50th anniversary, and of course Christ Church will be celebrating its own golden jubilee this year as our church looks back and marks 50 years since its formation.
It is natural at a time of anniversary to look back at all the achievements of the years leading up to that point, to celebrate the past glories and reminisce about them. But as lovely as it is to look back over things, it is also good to take stock of how things have changed, consider where things are now and where the future might be taking us.
Pentecost changed the disciples forever. The Holy Spirit enabled them to do things they perhaps never dreamed of doing, led them places they never thought they would go and while it also took them into great danger at the cost of their own lives, they sowed the seeds of an early church which grew and grew. And while the Christian church has made many, many mistakes along the way, it has also been a blessing to many, many people too. All those people who worship in church buildings together, all those who gain strength and comfort through their faith. All the meals that have been prepared in church kitchens, people who have been fed through Christian outreach projects, all the different movements and charities and projects that have challenged discrimination and poverty and injustice.
I’d like you all to take a moment to imagine what it would be like if we, here as a Church today, experienced a similar moment to the one the disciples experienced at Pentecost. Imagine the roar of the wind, and the Holy Spirit coming upon us all in tongues of flame. Imagine us being transformed as the disciples were. What would our church look like if the Holy Spirit filled us as dramatically as it filled the disciples? Imagine that we, as a Church, were suddenly enabled to be so much more than we imagined we could be. What would we as a church do, I wonder? Where do you think the Holy Spirit could lead us?
I invite you to take a few moments to listen to what God might be saying to you about the kind of Church that we could be and to write your thoughts down on the flame you were given as you came in about what we as a Church would be doing if there were no barriers to doing so, if our church was suddenly and dramatically filled with the Holy Spirit as the disciples were. After the service, I’ll be collating these thoughts to take back to Church Council as we consider our church moving forward and where God might be encouraging us to go as a church. [If you weren’t at the service and would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to email them to me at email@example.com]
Let us pray:
Loving God, we pray for your Spirit to fill our church today and enable us to be the church that you call us to be. Guide us as we move forward, help us to share your love with those around us and to always be open to your calling for us. Be with our Church Council as they consider these thoughts and help give us the resources that we need to be all that you would have us be. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Readings for 12 June
John 16:12-15 (NIV)
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Proverbs 8:1-14, 22-31
- Psalm 8
- Romans 5:1-5
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 for Trinity Sunday this week will be a parade service led by Christ Church worship group. 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.
12 June – Christ Church worship group – parade service
19 June – Mr Ken Pearce (member of Christ Church)
26 June – Revd Stephen Poole (Methodist minister) – communion service
3 July – Christ Church worship group
Church charity news
5K sponsored walk for Halo Children’s Foundation
Thank you to everyone who sponsored us for our 5k walk for Halo Children’s Foundation. Sophie cycled the 5k, pacing one of the boys who was running and came in second. Louise did a mixture of running and walking, finishing in the middle of the group while Michael was kept at a leisurely pace with Thomas (who walked a fair chunk of the 5k with the odd ride on Daddy’s shoulders so as not to trail too far behind everyone else). Thankfully after a drizzly start to the day, the weather turned out quite nice for the walk and we raised £85 for Halo as a result.
Film afternoon – Saturday 9th July
We will be showing a family-friendly film in the chapel from 1pm on Saturday 9th July. Popcorn, drinks and other refreshments will be available. There is no charge to attend but we will have a collection jar for HALO Children’s Foundation if you would like to donate to our church charity.
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
Christ Church 50th Anniversary
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, Jean and Louise George are putting together a drama/musical celebration which will be performed on Sunday 25th September, 3pm – 5pm. Rehearsals will take place on Sundays after the service from 26th June. If you would be interested in taking part, please let Jean or Louise know.
Girls Brigade evening at Iver Environment Centre
On the Friday before half term, and after the success of our visit earlier in the year, we had another evening at Iver Environment Centre. The Explorers and Juniors went bug hunting and then made their own bug hotel to take home and the Seniors built shelters and made and cooked dampers. The weather was perfect – a beautiful summer’s evening – and we all had a great time. Thank you Flo for leading the evening for us. When we return after our half-term break we’ll be putting the finishing touches to the items for our Display on the 1st July.
Brigades’ Annual Display
This year’s Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Annual Display will take place on Friday 1st July, 7pm – 8.30pm. Please do come along and support our young people.
Where did Jesus go?
This question begs many others!
Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross. The disciples believed that in some way he was still with them.
So what do we believe?
There were no resurrection stories until the 90’s or in the Gospel of Mark, written sometime after 70(CE). Perhaps we need to rethink what we mean by them. Do we agree with Paul that if there was no resurrection then the whole of our faith collapses? Or can we still be gripped and inspired by the historical Jesus of Nazareth as much as by Jesus the Christ? May I recommend for your reading “Zealot: The life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” by Reza Aslan? You might well find him thought-provoking!
From the URC News Update
Join the URC 50th anniversary choir
If you love singing, join the URC’s 50th anniversary choir! We’re looking for voices in a variety of styles, to reflect the diversity of the denomination, to sing at the Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration on October 1, at Methodist Central Hall Westminster. Members of the choir will receive the music in advance and have a rehearsal day in central London and then a final rehearsal on the day at the hall ahead of the service. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please register your interest at https://tinyurl.com/urc50choir For further information, please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pray like Hannah
For the month of July all URC congregations are invited to ‘Pray like Hannah’. This is a month of prayer for children to support the launch of URC Children at General Assembly. There will be daily prayer prompts on Children’s and Youth Work’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with resources available on the website. You can find more information online at https://urc.org.uk/your-faith/prayer-and-worship/ pray-like-hannah/
Solve the clues to fill in the answers to the crossword. Some letters have been added to help you.
The creator (6)
The helper Jesus sent to us (6)
This time today (3)
The Son (5)
Something that is not a lie (5)
Use your ears (6)
The time to come (6)
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Kenton Methodist
- Brentford Free Church (URC/Baptist)
The Kingdom of God is justice and joy,
And we go out to seek that Kingdom,
To celebrate in that Kingdom,
To bring that Kingdom about,
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)