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 (email@example.com)
We start with our opening prayer:
Lord, awaken us to the needs of your world,
the pains and tensions in our communities,
the dangers and hardships in the most vulnerable areas
of this warming planet.
Show us the importance of love
in all the difficult choices and decisions
we are called upon to make, big or small. Amen.
(Adapted from Roots)
Reflection from 3 July
Reading: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Earlier this year, I did the Stepwise Faith-Filled Life course with some of our other church members. Stepwise is the discipleship development programme from the URC. There are several different streams that are part of Stepwise, exploring worship, community, leadership, having confidence in our own faith, but the starting point for all of these streams is Faith-Filled Life, where we are encouraged to explore who we are, where we fit in our church and community, what journey we are on and what challenges we might be facing.
Today’s Bible reading from Luke is one that we looked at as part of the preparation for our group project, which focused on listening and looking out for signs of what God is doing in our communities. In an earlier session we’d looked more closely at mission in relation to our churches and communities where we were introduced to two descriptions of church – attractional vs incarnational church.
An attractional church was defined as being one that seeks to provide a very attractive building, services, welcome etc. in order to bring people in, whereas an incarnational church is a church that may happen anywhere. It doesn’t rely on attracting people into a particular building, but instead concentrates on taking God’s work and the example of Jesus’s life out to the people wherever they are.
During our group session, we thought about our local communities and the people we encounter in the local area and created a mind map. Interestingly, we did a very similar thing around the same time in the Growing Good Lent course where we were also encouraged to look outwards from our church and into the community around us. At the end of each Stepwise session we were encouraged to reflect in a journal and this is part of my reflection:
“I’m beginning to come more and more to the conclusion that we need to go out into our community and engage with it, with people where they are rather than expecting people to come to us at our church. That we need to become more aware of the needs within our community and how we can meet them. Not aiming for ‘bums on seats on a Sunday’ but to genuinely serve others and demonstrate the love of God in practical ways, building a relationship with the local community.”
It’s a thought that was reinforced several times throughout the Stepwise course – this sense of needing to go out and engage with the local community, and to share God’s love with others where they are.
In our reading today, Jesus sends seventy or seventy-two (the number varies in different manuscripts) people out in pairs ahead of him to the towns and places where he is about to go. He tells them they must travel light and acknowledges that the task may be dangerous. They have to rely on accepting the hospitality of others, to offer peace those in the houses they enter. If they are rejected, they wipe the dust of that place from their feet and focus on working with those who welcome them.
Jesus isn’t calling them to go out and stand on the street preaching at others and trying to convert them. These disciples are going out into the places where Jesus sends them, engaging with the people where they are and trusting in God to provide them with their needs along the way. Working with people who welcome them, moving on from those who reject them and trusting in God to work through them. Their greeting of peace is unconditional – it does not matter who the people in the houses are, what they do or where they are from – it is freely offered and the recipient is free to accept or reject it as they wish. In the same way, our offers of peace or attempts to share God’s love with our local community should also be freely offered – not with strings attached and an expectation to come to our church on a Sunday morning, but simply because we are called by God to offer it. And just as with those whom the disciples offered peace to in our reading today, the recipients are free to accept it or reject it as they choose.
Can you imagine how we would feel if we were asked to do the same? To go out to our local community, taking nothing with us, trusting in God to provide and relying on the hospitality of others. Even going out in pairs with another person to help support and encourage us, it’s still quite a daunting prospect. Going out into our community, stepping out and trying to be church out in our community is scary. It makes us vulnerable, opens us out to awkward questions that we might not have the answers for. We’re much more comfortable inside our church building aren’t we? Doing what we know and understand, being with like-minded people, hoping that if we just let people know that we are here and we are ready to welcome them, that they’ll come to us, meet us where we are.
The disciples had to take that leap of faith as they headed out. Trusting that God would equip them, trusting that through engaging with others, building relationship, they were helping prepare the way for Jesus. For us too, stepping out requires that leap of faith, and trusting that if we take that step, if we go out and engage and offer God’s peace and love to those around us, then God will equip us for the journey as we build relationships and prepare the way for Jesus to follow.
Readings for 10 July
Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Deuteronomy 30:9-14
- Psalm 25:1-10
- Colossians 1:1-14
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. Our service this week will be a parade service led by URC lay preacher and Christ Church member, Graham Hinton. 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.
10 July – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and member of Christ Church) – parade service
17 July – Revd Andrew Pottage (Methodist minister)
24 July – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and member of Christ Church)
31 July – Revd Bridget Powell (URC minister) – communion service
Church charity news
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.
We’re now halfway through our year of supporting HALO Children’s Foundation and our fundraising total now stands at £376. Thank you to everyone who has supported our events so far this year.
Our next coffee morning in aid of HALO will be on Saturday 30 July. Please come along and support 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 – “Hopes and Dreams: Moving Forward” which will be performed on Sunday 25th September, 3pm – 5pm. There will be opportunities to join in with group songs, as well as solo numbers, readings and drama. Rehearsals are now taking place on Sundays after the service. There is still time to be involved if you would like to join in! If you would be interested in taking part, please let Jean or Louise know.
Community Anniversary Commemorative Wall Hanging
We are planning a new wall hanging for the vestibule to mark the church anniversary. Come and be involved. The plan is based on collecting the signatures, names and messages and even logos from those who form the bricks that the church is built upon. Members and friends past and present, groups that use the buildings and visitors. Echoing the brick interior of the church, people will have names on bricks that form the basis of the wall hanging. The anniversary logo will also be included and some bonus material also. The size it ends up will depend on the number of names collected.
Come and be part of the process on 6th August and 8th October between 10am and 12noon. No sewing skills needed, but if you have skills we will use them.
Church café – can you help?
The church café is in need of a volunteer on Thursdays from 12.30pm – 3pm to help with washing up and clearing up after the café closes. Please contact Joanne Mackin if you are able to help on any of the following dates: Thursday 14 July, Thursday 21 July or Thursday 28 July.
Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Annual Display
On Friday 1st July, the parents and friends of the Christ Church Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades were treated to a display of their skills and talents.
They started by parading into the church in full parade uniform after which we were then entertained with a display of dancing and gymnastics. There were also games and quizzes and a display of items the Brigade members had made.
All of the Brigade children, from youngest to oldest, were involved and participated with energy and enthusiasm.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and made us proud to be part of the Brigade experience.
Greenbelt – bunting needed
Each year, URC members who aren’t able to join us in person at Greenbelt have connected with us through creating and sending in knitted items, handmade postcards, and through prayer. Each of these small offerings has found a place with many others sent from across the country to create a wonderful reflection of the creativity and diversity of the URC family. And at the end of each festival, people have been queuing up to take a little piece of the display home with them as a lasting reminder of precious times at Greenbelt.
For 2022, we are inviting you to create bunting to display in the tent at Greenbelt. This can be individual triangles or made into a 2-metre length! The bunting can be made from paper, card, cloth or whatever you happen to find around the home. Your bunting triangles can include images of revolting Christians, symbols of faith or just multicoloured patterns and shapes that are beautiful to look at. You could create a representation of your congregation or church building or your neighbourhood or something celebrating the 50th year of the URC. Let your imagination fly!
Please pass on your finished bunting to Joanne Mackin by 22nd August.
Follow the paths to see who knew the right way to help the wounded man.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Pinner Methodist
- Ickenham URC
Lord, help us to look for the good in our neighbours.
Help us to recognise that neighbourliness goes two ways.
Make us gracious as well as generous,
receptive to the ideas and perspectives,
as well as the needs, of others,
remembering that as we meet them, we meet you.
(Taken from Roots)