Hands shaping clay on a pottery wheel

HM Queen Elizabeth II

We were deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen yesterday and our prayers are with the Royal Family at this sad time and with His Majesty The King as he starts his reign.


Our opening prayer this week is from the Methodist Church:


Creator God,
We give thanks for the life of Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
We honour her life of service built on a firm foundation of faith and an exemplary commitment to duty.
Comfort those who mourn and bring peace to those in distress.
We offer our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

HM The Queen wearing a green hat and green coat



Statement from the Methodist Church

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference have made the following statement in response to the announcement of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.


“It was with profound sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty the Queen today. We join the nation in grief and thank God for her long and distinguished reign. The loyalty to, and love expressed, for Queen Elizabeth across the world is a testament to the life that she led, one marked by dedicated service to others. She provided encouragement and reassurance to a world living through uncertain times.


“For people of all ages the Queen has provided constancy, a calm and wise influence at all levels of society. Our nation, the Commonwealth and the world have been greatly blessed by her life and work.


“We give thanks to God that her duty as monarch was grounded in a deep faith in Jesus Christ, which has been an inspiration to countless people throughout her reign. Her dedication, commitment and service to her people will never be forgotten and will sustain all those who mourn in the coming weeks. Our prayers are for her family who have lost a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt and we pray that all may be inspired by her service and guided by her example.


“The prayers of the Methodist people are also offered for His Majesty the King in his new role.”
The Revd Graham Thompson and Anthony Boateng, President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference



Statement from the United Reformed Church

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lived the most remarkable life of dedicated Christian service. As a devout Anglican and Presbyterian her faith shone from her words and deeds. Her contribution to the life of the nations, the commonwealth, and beyond will be remembered with gratitude for generations to come. She inspired respect from across the political spectrum and from monarchists and republicans alike. The United Reformed Church has always been aware that as each General Assembly presents a loyal address to the throne, we have been addressing a fellow baptised sister in Christ. We give thanks for her life and uphold in prayer all who mourn for her. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”
Revd John Bradbury, URC General Secretary



Time of prayer – Saturday 10 September

Our church is open during the day for prayer and reflection. We will be including prayers for HM The Queen and the Royal Family in our time of prayer this coming Saturday, 10 September. This will be an extended time of prayer, starting at the usual time of 11.30am. All are welcome.




Reflection from 4 September

Readings: Jeremiah 18:1-11 and Luke 14:25-33


Parents often act as prophets. I remember when I was very young, my siblings and my cousins and I would congregate with my parents at our grandparents house on a Saturday evening. There were quite a lot of us and probably some nice cakes to eat. So full of sugar, we grew more and more excited, more noisy or exuberant. Amidst hysterical laughter, rushing around, and the danger of some precious ornament being broken, one of the adults would say, “there will be tears before bedtime,” and there usually were. Was it prophecy or common sense?


Prophecy doesn’t need to foretell the future. It can sometimes simply be a warning or a foreboding. It’s often easier for an onlooker to see when things are going wrong. Easier than for the people actually involved in a relationship, in a job, in lots of other situations. It’s difficult for us to know when to interfere, when to say something. No one welcomes interference or unsolicited advice.


Prophets, especially prophets of doom, are not appreciated and they are often ahead of their time, too.  Many, many years ago I worked in a school which had strict rules for both pupils and staff alike. It was there I met but failed to recognise a prophet. A young Oxford graduate who had formerly been a pupil at a well-known public school was employed to teach maths and science. His CV was first rate. He was a born-again Christian, so we could have had something in common. But working with him was an absolute nightmare. His dress code was extremely casual. He turned up late or not at all on Sundays. He never prepared or marked work and he wanted the boys to call him by his Christian name.


I have to say I have to confess I was prejudice by all of this, so I never really appreciated his prophetic messages when he said them. Messages about poverty, Third World debt cancellation, the perils of fossil fuels, global warming and climate change. All of which we have now embraced wholeheartedly. And I still have feelings of guilt that I didn’t listen to him. I have to say he found us too stuffy and left after a couple of terms. I often wonder where he is now. What happened to him?


Prophets are rarely recognised in their own times and are often vilified. Jeremiah was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible. He lived at a time when the Israelites were failing to live up to their covenantal relationship with God and were straying into idolatrous worship. He was called upon to deliver warnings to them. For years, he struggled to deliver his messages and he was treated really cruelly. He was arrested. He was imprisoned. Almost everyone regarded him as a prophet of doom.


Still, he wanted to do what God asked him. He sacrificed marriage and family in order to give God’s message to the people. He often used metaphors to let them understand and today’s picture of the potter and his clay is one of his most famous ones.


I don’t know about you, but I love watching The Great Pottery Throw Down and have a yearning to be let loose on that pottery wheel. Sadly, I’ve only been a spectator watching clay being prepared, the wheels spun to get to the right speed, clay being thrown into the centre and then crafted by the Potters talented hands. Of course, it doesn’t always go to plan. Sometimes the beautiful creation collapses. All isn’t lost though. The clay can be gathered again and work can begin again. It’s not lost.


Hands shaping clay on a pottery wheel


And that was the message from God via Jeremiah. God is the great Potter, and the people are his clay. When things go wrong, God can rework them. He can work with his people to make things better. Jeremiah’s message wasn’t one of doom, it was one of hope. With God, there’s always another chance.


One of the great prophecies from Jeremiah is that of the new covenant fulfilled in Jesus Christ when God’s love will be written on our hearts and people will be forgiven. We remember this at communion when we hear the words, ‘Jesus took the cup and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.”’


Some would say that our problems today are akin to Jeremiah’s people problems. Reverend Dave Booker says that there are analogies between Israel’s abandonment of God’s covenant and their adopting of false gods and the disaster we’re bringing upon ourselves globally, nationally, and individually through overconsumption. Fossil fuel addiction. Destruction of nature. And the worship of self-reliance and greed.


But there is hope that the Divine Potter can work with us. I’ve recently been watching a program on BBC iPlayer called Restoring the Earth: The Age of Nature. It’s about how ecosystems which are devastated by human impacts are being revived for future generations. It’s really inspiring, full of hope.


Many of Jeremiah’s messages were hard to hear. As was the message from Jesus in our gospel reading today. Is the one who told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us really telling us to hate Father, mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters? Surely not. What’s going on?


We have to remember that everywhere Jesus went, he was surrounded by crowds of people; all of them filled with awe at his miraculous healings, his holy power over demons, diseases and disabilities. They hung on his every word of his teaching and his words of wisdom. And many thought they were going to be with him as he overthrew the Roman Empire.


Jesus often spoke in hyperbole, an intentional exaggeration of speech. Like when he said, “pluck out your eye if it offends you,” his words were not actually just an instruction. And it certainly wasn’t an instruction to hate kith and kin. He was simply saying, if you want to be a disciple, you mustn’t let anything come between you and Jesus. Being a disciple comes with a cost and all who want to follow him have to realise that.


Earlier in the Gospel of Luke, we hear about Jesus meeting three potential disciples; three young men. Jesus pointed out to the first how insecure and homeless he would be if he joined him. Let’s admit it, few people are willing to risk everything. But Jesus didn’t want people to come to him under false pretences. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, he said so. It would be dangerous. And we know that there was to be no freedom from persecution for those early disciples.


Jesus did invite the second to follow him. Maybe the man hadn’t expected that, because he certainly wasn’t ready. “Let me go and bury my father first,” he said. And Jesus replied that he couldn’t. It’s often seen as being harsh, but Biblical scholars think that the man father probably wasn’t even dead. The man wanted to secure his inheritance before setting out. If he had been dead, the man wouldn’t have been there talking about it. He would have been busy preparing the funeral rituals.


What we do know is that the disciples certainly put Jesus above their families.


The third young man wanted to say goodbye to his family to get everything in order before he came, to get everything straight before following Jesus. Jesus wasn’t advising abandoning families but pointing out that with discipleship comes a cost and there is no time to be lost. Jesus said that there could be no delay in following him. True discipleship requires instant action. There might not be another opportunity. That saying we have about not putting off for tomorrow what we can do today. It’s the same for us.


We may not be leaving home and family, but we should be following all of Jesus teachings, not just the ones we like; the ones that suit us. Being a member of a church is demanding. We’re often faced with divided loyalties, having to prioritise the things in our lives, and it’s not easy when other commitments clash, when our beliefs and popular opinions don’t go together and we have to stand up for something we think is right and others don’t. We have to go forward in faith.


Jesus said there would be a price to pay. No great plan or venture would ever be undertaken without thinking about the cost. The recently opened Elizabeth Line has taken over 20 years in development and planning and the cost has spiralled. It’s an example of something that has been undertaken but has cost so much more. And daily we hear about the complications, the costs involved because of the war in Ukraine.


It was no different in Jesus’s time. Nothing could be undertaken without real consideration about the cost and the time it would take.


Jesus was asking for commitment. Lack of commitment, and perhaps fear of commitment, are two issues faced by the church today. When we become Christians, we commit ourselves to following Jesus and his teachings, reading the Bible, praying and worshipping. But churches need commitment too. They don’t run themselves and people are needed in all areas during the week as well as on Sundays. And I hear that lots of help is needed for your coming weekend to celebrate the church’s anniversary.


Red heart symbol is put by person's hand into slot of white donation box, slot is shaped like Christian cross.


Why are folks reluctant to get involved? Fear of failure, fear of letting people down, of not being able to carry on or of being stuck in a job forever. But we all need to be able to share and support our members.


Since the early church, Jesus’s followers have been martyred and persecuted. Many have given up wealth and position in their role as disciples. We’re very fortunate to have freedom of worship in our country. That’s not the case in many countries. Loss of employment, persecution and even death wait the Christian in some countries.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran priest who was executed by the Nazis for his resistance to their evil. He wrote this about the costs of discipleship:


“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of the church. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.


Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.


Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Anne Byfield




Readings for 11 September

Luke 15:1-10 (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”


Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.


The Parable of the Lost Coin
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Exodus 32:7-14
  • Psalm 51:1-10
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17



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 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 led by Methodist local preacher, Cathy Smith. 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

11 September – Cathy Smith (Methodist local preacher)

18 September – Christ Church worship group – Harvest and parade service

24 September – Christ Church worship group with reflections from Revd Elizabeth Kemp and Revd Nick Skelding – 50th anniversary thanksgiving service (3pm)

25 September – Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim (Methodist minister) – Communion and covenant service



Harvest Service – 18th September

Our Harvest service this year will take place on Sunday 18 September and our harvest gifts will be donated to Yiewsley & West Drayton Foodbank. The following items are currently urgently needed:


  • Microwave rice packets
  • Pasta sauce
  • Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans
  • Tinned peas, carrots, or sweetcorn
  • Tinned potatoes
  • Instant coffee
  • Long life milk (ideally full fat or semi skimmed)
  • Long life fruit juice
  • Custard
  • Rice pudding
  • Tinned fruit
  • 1l fruit squash
  • Biscuits
  • Sugar (500g or 1kg)
  • Dried noodles
  • Tinned spaghetti



DEC Pakistan Flood Appeal

There will be a retiring collection after the service this Sunday for the DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal.

Christ Church 50th Anniversary

Help needed

Preparations for the Fete are in full swing! We have a full programme with lots of interesting and fun stalls, live music and demonstrations plus a BBQ. There will be something for everyone to enjoy.


Please can you help?  We still need people for the following:


Car Park Team 8am – 9.30am 1 filled – 2 people needed
9.30am – 11am 1 filled – 2 people needed
11am – 12.30 pm 1 filled – 1 person needed
12.30 – 2pm 1 filled – 1 person needed
Refreshments – kitchen & meeting area 12noon -1.30pm 2 filled – 1 person needed
  1.30pm – 3pm 2 people
Stall holders – Welcome gazebo 9.30am – 11am 2 people
  11am – 12noon 2 people
  12noon – 1pm 2 people
Stall holders – Fun Games gazebo 10am – 11am 2 people
  11am – 12noon 2 people
12noon – 1pm 2 people
Stall holder – merchandise stall – indoors 10am – 11am filled
  11am -12noon filled
  12noon -1pm 1 person
Children’s Messy Church craft table – indoors 10am – 11am 1 filled – 1 person needed
  11am – 12noon 2 people needed
  12noon – 1pm 1 filled – 1 person needed
Welcomer & programme distributor – indoors 10am – 11am 1 person
  11am -12noon 1 person
  12noon – 1pm 1 person
Stewards – indoors 10am – 11am 2 people needed
  11am – 11am 2 people needed
  11am – 12noon 2 people needed
BBQ assistant – Courtyard & Room 8 11am – 1.30pm 2 people needed
Taking gazebo’s & bunting down 1pm-2pm 4 people needed
Re-setting church building after Fete 1.15pm – 2.30pm 3 filled – 3 people needed


If you can help, please sign up on the form in the vestibule or let Denise or one of the Elders know. Thank you.



Quiz supper – Saturday 24th September, 7pm

Come and join us in the Christ Church halls for a quiz supper as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 24th September. Tickets cost £15 per person and includes a fish, chicken, sausage or veggie burger and chips. Booking forms are available at church or can be downloaded and printed off from our website at: https://christchurchuxbridge.org.uk/


Please return your booking forms and payment to the church office by 12th September.


We are also looking for raffle prizes for the quiz supper. If you are able to donate a raffle prize such as a box of chocolates, scented candle, box of biscuits, a jigsaw puzzle or a houseplant then please let Denise know.




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"



Dates for your diary

Tuesday 20th September, 7.30pm

“The origins of Christ Church” – an illustrated talk by Ken Pearce. This will take place in the chapel at Christ Church. £2 for those who are not members of the local history society.


Please note that this event is on a Tuesday and not a Thursday as was incorrectly stated in the last issue of Look-In.


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.



Reform magazine

Reform is a fresh and challenging magazine exploring theology, ethics, personal spirituality and Christian perspectives on social and current affairs and features writing from journalists, academics, politicians, campaigners, scientists and religious leaders.


The magazine is published 10 times a year by the United Reformed Church but has readers from all Christian denominations, as well as readers from other faiths and from no faith tradition.


If anyone would like to receive paper copies of Reform magazine, please let Joanne know by the end of September.



Children’s Corner

(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2022. Reproduced with permission.)




Praying for other churches

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Eastcote Methodist
  • URC at Eastcote and Northwood Hills


Hands making heart symbol with cross in the centre



Closing prayer

May the infinite love and mercy of God
bring the whole Church,
living and departed in the Lord Jesus,
to a joyful resurrection
and the fulfilment of God’s eternal kingdom;
and the blessing of God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
remain with us always. Amen
(Taken from the Methodist Church Prayer Service on the Death of the Sovereign)



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‘Look-In’ – 9 September 2022
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