The Earth seen from space

Hello everyone,


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 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 (



We start with our opening prayer:


Creator God,
we know that on this planet there is enough,
and indeed plenty for all.
Help us to be good stewards of your plenty,
working with you so that all may be fed,
all may be secure,
and all may come to know and honour you,
the giver of all good things. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)


The Earth seen from space




Reflection from 24 July

Readings: Genesis 18:20-32 and Luke 11:1-13


I think some children I know must have learned their technique from Abraham when they’re whittling away at their parents for something which at first is a no, and they keep going. Here in Genesis God has changed Sarai and Abram’s names to Sarah and Abraham. He’s made Abraham a father of many nations, and promised them in old age a son. God tells Abraham that he intends to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which had terrible reputations for lawlessness, if when he checks them out it’s as bad as he’s been told. And Abraham seems to know what God’s decision is going to be.


You may also know (if you read on you discover this) that his nephew, Lot, who’d been separated from Abraham so that the two groups of people could each prosper, was living in Sodom. Abraham didn’t want Lot and his family to be destroyed so he embarks on this conversation with God, which I suppose we’d call prayer today, and he gradually gets God to agree that if there are some good people in Sodom he won’t destroy it.


You’ll need to read on to find out exactly what happened, but the aspect I want to dwell on here is Abraham’s persistent prayer, and to carry that forward as we consider our New Testament reading which includes a prayer we all persist with, at least on most Sundays and probably at times during the week as well.


The Lord’s Prayer, as we’ve come to know it as, is described in two gospels. In Luke, which we’ve heard this morning, it’s in response to a disciple’s request to teach us to pray. Jesus says, “when you pray, say…” and he gives these words. In Matthew, it’s set as part of a teaching about honest, sincere, private prayer. Jesus says, “this then is how you should pray.”


The Matthew version might be taken as meaning that these are the words that we should always say; that our prayer should always be in these words. However, we know that Jesus didn’t mean that because he said elsewhere that anything you ask for will be granted.


Older versions of the Luke version, the one we’ve heard, say, “pray like this.” Not a prescription but a pattern. But whichever way we follow, whichever way we take it, there’s no doubt that we do repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it, don’t we? So, knowing about Abraham repeating his prayer about Sodom and Gomorrah, and knowing that a little later in Luke in Chapter 18, Jesus tells a story about a lady who pesters an uncooperative judge who won’t take her case on until he finally gives in, I think this is talking to us about being persistent in our prayers.


So what, when we repeat this Lord’s Prayer for the umpteenth time in our lives, are we being persistent about?


Hands folded in prayer on a Bible


It seems to me that the first thing that we’re being persistent about is being part of a family, being part of God’s family and being part of humanity. It’s a group prayer; it’s not an individual prayer. It’s give us today our daily bread; forgive us our sins; save us from the time of trial; deliver us from evil. Whatever we are going on to request, it’s not just for us personally, it’s for all of us together. We are not each alone with any shortcomings, just affecting us as an individual.


And you’ve probably heard the words of John Donne in the 17th century. They’ve got man throughout it, although today I’m sure we’d say person:


“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”


So we persist in believing we are in the family of humanity with a loving parent, and the responsibility of caring for one another as good families do. We accept that charge in our lives, and then we continue on with the prayer “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


What are we persisting in as we say that week after week? A vague hope that eventually all will be well in this crazy mixed up world? Or the thought that one day there will be a mighty crash and flash, changing this place to a world of fairness and peace ever after? Or should we be persisting in contributing to bringing about God’s kingdom? Because surely we are called to do that. Jesus is our supreme example of doing that, working with love in the social and political and religious climate of his time. When we persist in praying, “your kingdom come,” does it challenge us every time to persist in helping to bring that about in the social, political and religious climate of our time?


The prayer goes on to acknowledge God’s gift to us sufficient for the needs of the moment, our daily bread, and asks his help to be faithful to his kingdom in the choices which we face every day, within which we persist in saying we will forgive other people when we feel offended by them. We say that in that prayer as well, but do we always do that? That’s an immense persist.


And so, we have from Jesus this pattern for our prayer, but the reading this morning didn’t just end, did it, with the prayer, which Jesus said to the disciples. Jesus went on to tell a story. In the Roots material, which we often use to help with our services, there’s a monologue about this which I wanted to share with you, because I thought it put it very well. This is as if being spoken by that disciple who asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.”


“I asked Jesus how we should pray. First of all, he gave me an example. He said, ‘When you pray, say this: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

Then he surprised me. Without pausing for a moment, he started to tell us a story. He said, ‘Just think. You’re all tucked up in bed for the night. You’ve finally got the little one off to sleep, he’s sucking his squeaky ted’s ear in his cot by your bed. And then comes an absolutely thunderous knocking at the door. And someone shouts up at your window, “Oy! You up there! I need three loaves of bread. Quickly. Jim’s turned up, and he’s absolutely famished. And there’s nothing in the house to give him.” Would you say, “Go away! You’ll wake the baby! I’ve locked the door for the night and that’s it! I’m not coming down”? I don’t think so. I think that, even if you didn’t care about his trouble, because he was your friend you’d jolly well get up and do as he asked just to get rid of him.’

And then Jesus said, ‘Prayer’s a bit like that. Ask, like the man in the story. Look for help, and you’ll find it. Knock at that door, and someone will come. Because if you ask, you will receive. If you look properly, you will find, and if you knock loud enough, someone will open the door.’

He paused, but he hadn’t finished. There was more – an anecdote; a tease, perhaps. ‘If your child, when he’s a bit bigger, asked for fish fingers for lunch, would you fob him off with something inedible, like the mouse you caught in a trap yesterday? Or if he wanted a nice boiled egg, would you slap something dangerous and nasty down in front of him? Come on, even if you were the worst person in the world, you’d still know what’s good for your own child. So, of course, your heavenly Father knows what’s good for you – because you are God’s child. And the best thing of all that God can give you – all of you – is the Holy Spirit.’

Makes you think, doesn’t it?”


So here’s the gem of all of this, as we persist in these often seemingly impossible declarations. We are promised that if we persist in asking, seeking and knocking, we will be enabled, with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are people who are called to persist in persisting. Amen.
Graham Hinton




Readings for 31 July

Luke 12:13-21 (NIV)

The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”


14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”


16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’


18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’


20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’


21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”


An open Bible



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
  • Psalm 49:1-12
  • Colossians 3:1-11





Our worship

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 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 communion service led by URC minister, Revd Bridget Powell. 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.


Forthcoming services

31 July – Revd Bridget Powell (URC minister) – communion service

7 August – Cathy Smith (Methodist local preacher)

14 August – Christ Church worship group – Songs of Praise service.

21 August – Lilian Evans (URC lay preacher)


Church charity news

Our next coffee morning in aid of HALO will be on Saturday 30 July. Please come along and support our church charity.


If anyone has any ideas for fundraising events for the autumn, please let Louise know.


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



Songs of Praise service on 14 August

Psalm 150 invites us to praise the Lord!  We would like to invite you to let us know if you have a hymn or Bible passage that will help us all to praise the Lord on Sunday 14th August in a Songs of Praise Service which Stephanie will be leading.  Or maybe there is a poem or a piece of music that we can listen to – or even a picture or painting to look at.  It would be lovely if you could say something about the reasons for your choice, but not essential.


Please contact Stephanie on 07788 290813 or via email at if you would like to share a hymn, Bible passage, poem, picture or piece of music as part of this service.

Christ Church 50th Anniversary

Dates for your diary

Sundays, 12.30pm – 2pm (approx.)
Rehearsals in the chapel for Hopes and Dreams: Moving Forward. Please contact Jean or Louise George for more details.
Please note there will be no rehearsal on 14 August.


Saturday 6th August, 10am – 12noon
Sewing bee for the community anniversary commemorative wall hanging. Please contact Joanne for more details.


Tuesday 16th August, 12noon – 2pm
Bunting making worship. Please contact Denise for more details.


Saturday 3rd September, 12noon – 2pm
Bunting making worship. Please contact Denise for more details.


A banner image with golden balloon, the 50th anniversary logo and the words "Christ Church is 50! Join us for a weekend of celebrations. Saturday 24th September & Sunday 25th September 2022"


Saturday 24th September
All day – Exhibition
10am – 1pm – Fete
3pm – Thanksgiving service
7pm – Quiz supper


Sunday 25th September
11am – Communion and covenant service
1pm – Bring and share lunch
3pm – Hopes and Dreams: Moving Forward


Saturday 8th October, 10am – 12noon
Sewing bee for the community anniversary commemorative wall hanging. Please contact Joanne for more details.


For more information about our anniversary events, please visit our 50th anniversary page.


A cartoon showing an ant-eating at a 'complaints' window with Noah at the window. The caption reads "Two ants? You have only two ants?!? My wife and I eat like 100,000 per day each!"
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc –


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.



A visit from former BB members

Our BB Company is celebrating its 70th year.


Mick Adams (the tall one) and Stan Tompkins are fellow members with me from the 1950’s. I remember Stan’s grandfather, Mr Yoens, climbing the steps to the pulpit at the Central Hall. He was the longest serving Local preacher in the Plan. Mick went on to be a BB Captain in Luton, and is a Methodist Local Preacher.


Two elderly men looking at a photo album

Three elderly men in front of a trophy cabinet


The photos show (1) Mick and Stan reading a poem sent in recently by Mick Hopgood, another member from that time, and (2) the three of us by the Trophy cabinet in the vestibule – Mick’s wife, Julia, is in the photo of the GB choir in the 1950s.
Graham Hinton



Inclusive Church newsletter

The latest Inclusive Church newsletter is now available to view on the Inclusive Church website at



Children’s Corner

The word 'abundance' with the question 'how many words can you find using the letters of abundance?'
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2022. Reproduced with permission.)



Praying for other churches

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • South Harrow Methodist
  • St Margaret’s & St George’s, Harlesden (URC/Moravian)



Closing prayer

Loving God, you have given us eyes to see
the beauty and bounty of the earth,
and minds to understand the importance of sharing.
Make us quick to see where there is injustice or suffering,
and generous to do what we can to alleviate either. Amen.
(Adapted from Roots)



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