Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. 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 on our church website here. We would love to hear from you and are always 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:
Around me and within me,
Spirit of God I thank you for your presence here.
I offer each breath in worship to you.
(Taken from The Vine)
Reflection from 2 October: God’s never-ending story
Readings: Genesis 1:1 – 2:4 and Colossians 1: 15-20
When the ink was barely dry on our joint venture of a church here at Christ Church, they sang that hymn [Forth in thy name, O Lord I go] on 5th October 1972 at the Central Hall for the First General Assembly of the United Reformed Church. An Act of Parliament in June 1972 had set it in motion, but the churches came together on that day and the URC as we know it was born. We, Uxbridge Christ Church, are listed on page 42 of the minutes for that meeting. However the churches that belong to it go back to the Reformation, just like our roots go back to those early dissenters and Methodists in Uxbridge in the 18th century and beyond. The Act brought together the Presbyterian Church of England and the majority of churches in the Congregational Church in England and Wales. It was joined later by the Re-formed Association of the Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000. It was new and old all at the same time. It had Christ, God’s word and the never-ending story at its centre.
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’”(Revelation 22: 13)
This word cloud shows you some of the word associated with the idea of Gods eternal story. Take a few moments to read the words and take them in.
Stories and storytelling play a fundamental role throughout the Bible, and in the very essence of our own lives today. Much of our day-to-day conversation and the way we build relationships and offer support to others relies on the sharing of our stories as we explore how everyone’s experiences, thoughts and characters weave together into a rich tapestry held together by God.
The Word of God in the Bible rests firmly at the heart of the Reformed Christian tradition. It is no surprise to see it identified as the key to understanding God’s purposes for the work and life of the United Reformed Church – as stated in the Basis of Union, the main constitutional document of the denomination. The whole purpose of Scripture is to help us recount and explore the wonder and challenge of the story of God, as we work out how it relates to the story of humanity, both in Biblical times and today.
This story of God contained within the Bible is often called the “Grand Narrative”. Although all the texts within it explore different things in different ways through the eyes of different people, together they tell the one story of God This offers us all a fresh opportunity to explore how our own life stories, along with the stories of our local churches and denomination, fit into this.
We have heard the opening volley of the Bible in our first reading. The story of God and humanity begins with creation. These opening chapters present us with two different perspectives of creation, drawing on different traditions. Chapter one takes a panoramic view, overseeing the wonder of creation in praise of the creator. Chapter two zooms in on a more intimate view of the hands-on approach that God takes in the forming of humankind; the Creator kneels on the soil and grasps hands full of clay from which to shape us.
Genesis goes on to tell us about the Fall. In rejecting God’s way, by snatching the role of determining right and wrong, humankind descends into a mess which affects all of creation. And if you were at our Hopes and Dreams performance last Sunday you would have seen Andrew and I depicting this as undercover angels.
Man as individuals seek to impose their own will and interpretation on the world, those things which were created for good are exploited, including other humans. Conflict ensues, as selfishness and pride take hold. Humankind is ejected from the abundant life that God had planned in creation. However, God does not abandon humanity. Instead, God pursues us throughout history, longing for us to be reconciled and drawn back into right relationship with God. This is reflected in the verses and texts which follow. Here are some selected readings:
- Genesis 9:1-17: God’s covenant with Noah
- Genesis 12:1-5: The call of Abram
- Genesis 15:1-5: God’s covenant with Abram
- Genesis 28:10-21: Jacob’s dream
- Genesis 37, 39-47: The story of Joseph and how Israel came to be in Egypt
- Exodus 2-6: Meeting Moses and his call to lead
- Exodus 7-12: Moses leads the people out following plagues sent by God
- Exodus 19 – 40: God’s Law is given through Moses, held together by God’s grace
The rest of the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) see a continuation of God laying out rules and ways for humanity to be reconciled with God. Humans often make mistakes and fall short of what God requires, but God remains with them, anxious for them to succeed.
As we move into the New Testament the story continues but changes. Colossians 1:19-20 offers a simple and concise summary of the Gospel, telling us that God seeks to reconcile everything in creation with God again, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The act of building a world of peace and reconciliation through Jesus is held by many to be the very mission of God (Missio Dei). This is the overarching purpose of all that God sought to accomplish in Christ, and through his people.
And in Acts 2 we hear of the coming of the Holy Spirit that will help us on our journey.
So, we have our church, 50 years old in its current form and in a lovely 50-year-old building. When the elders went on an away day earlier in the summer we went to Marlow URC and Revd David Downing left us a coffee break gift. An air fix model of a church. He left us with this accompanying note:
You will need to build this church. It doesn’t have to be today.
It will need someone to organize its construction – please make a committee to do this.
It will need someone to hold a meeting to sort out decoration – a working group can do this.
It will need someone to take care of it – a rota would be good for this.
When it is built, please remember:
This isn’t God’s Church.
God’s Church doesn’t shrink people to fit in.
God’s Church doesn’t have a fixed instruction manual.
God’s Church can never be small in vison or hope.
Gods Church is never one size fits all.
God’s Church must never be too small for God.
God’s Church always needs our imagination.
It reminds us that even though we have reached our 50th anniversary, the Church is not the building, not the result of the sharing agreement, or the Act of Parliament, or even the first assembly with our name in it. It is us, the people, the hearts, minds and actions of “we, the people” to borrow a phrase, and we wish to continue the journey.
With all this in mind we can then know that the story of God is not over and will never be over. There is a part of the Grand Narrative yet to come, and to which we look with hope, faith and anticipation – the completion of God’s plan in the new creation.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, which we continue to enjoy today, we can play our role in making this happen.
Readings for 2 October
Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15b
- Psalm 111
- 2 Timothy 2:8-15
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 our annual Brigades’ enrolment 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.
9 October – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and member of Christ Church) – parade and enrolment service
16 October – Sue Lloyd (Methodist local preacher)
23 October – Christ Church worship group
30 October – Revd Andrew McLuskey (URC minister) – communion service
Church charity news
Operation Christmas Child
Flat-packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child are now available in the vestibule. These will be collected in mid-November to send to children overseas.
Table-top games afternoon – save the date
There will be a table-top games afternoon after the service on 13th November as a fundraiser for HALO Children’s Foundation.
You can find more details about HALO Children’s Foundation, our church charity for 2022 at:
www.christchurchuxbridge.org.uk/activities/churchcharity2022To make a donation to our church charity online visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christ-church-halo2022
Christ Church 50th Anniversary
Saturday 8th October, 10am – 12noon
Sewing bee for the community anniversary commemorative wall hanging. Please contact Joanne for more details.
If you would like to purchase a mug or tote bag (or both!) as a souvenir of our 50th anniversary, you can do so through the church office. Mugs cost £6.50 each and tote bags £3.50 each (£10 for both). Payment can be made by cash or via bank transfer.
CTU Bible study and prayer group
Churches Together in Uxbridge
Bible study and prayer group
Where: Uxbridge Quaker Meeting House, York Rd, Uxbridge, UB8 1QW
When: 1.15 pm – 2.15pm, on the following Tuesdays:
- 11th October
- 25th October
- 1st November
- 22nd November
An opportunity to pray and study together during a weekday with members of other churches in Uxbridge. This programme is a pilot series of four sessions concentrating on one small book of the Bible.
No homework or special knowledge is required for the Friendly Bible Study method. We’ll dwell prayerfully over a text together, addressing some set queries between us as to how we experience it, before finishing with time for some prayer together. The sessions will last no longer than an hour.
You don’t need to bring anything. Be prepared to hear some unfamiliar English translations of the Bible, as this is integral to the Friendly Bible Study method. If you have time,
you can stay for some chat and refreshments.
Mike Beranek, CTU Chair
From the Methodist Circuit Newsletter
Pinner Taizé Service
Pinner Methodist Church (Love Lane, Pinner HA5 3EE), invites you to join them for a Taizé service on the theme of “Forgiveness”.
The service is on Sunday 9th October at 6.30pm, with a retiring collection in support of UNICEF’s work in Ukraine.
Responding to the Cost of Living Crisis – Thursday 13 October, 10am – 12.30pm
The District will be hosting a special event looking at the cost of living crisis and how churches and circuits can respond to the needs within our communities. The event will feature a panel of guest speakers and attendees will have the opportunity to present their questions to the panel. We are really looking forward to coming together to gain a deeper insight into how we as a church, can bring real change to the lives of those around us. We do hope you will be able to join us. Registration is here.
From the URC LAG Newsletter
50th Anniversary Service for the URC
There will be a joint LAG service to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the URC on Sunday 16th October, 3pm at Trinity, Harrow. All are welcome to attend.
Forecourt Sale, Ickenham URC
Saturday 15th October, 10am – 12noon
- Hundreds of books from 50p to £5
- DVDs etc.
- Board games etc.
- Refreshments and home-made cakes
Proceeds to church and charities.
Charity Coffee Morning, URC Eastcote & Northwood Hills
Saturday 15th October 2022, 10.30am – 12noon
Charity coffee morning supporting Michael Sobell Hospice. Please join us for coffee, cake and chat.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- North Harrow Methodist
- St Margaret’s & St George’s, Harlesden (URC/Moravian)
We bring to you, Lord, our memories of our life so far,
however long or short, thanking you for all we have learnt.
Help us to see ourselves as you see us.
Help us to see other people as you see them.
Thank you for all the different friends we have.
We ask you to show us what really matters.
Help us to remember how much you love us and everyone. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)