A drawing of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus.

Hello everyone,

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. This will be the last issue of Look-In for 2022 – the next issue will be on 6 January. I hope you all have a peaceful Christmas and wish you all the best for the new year ahead.


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 (publicity@christchurchuxbridge.org.uk)


We start with our opening prayer:


Lord, you alone know our hearts,
our histories and our hopes.
You alone know our futures and our fears.
Lead us on, so that whatever part we may play,
our story may be shaped by your story,
through Jesus, son of Mary,
and given a name through Joseph. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)






Reflection from 11 December

Reading: Matthew 11.2-11


As the song that we often hear at this time of year tells us, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. A season of decorated streets, family get togethers, presents, cosy evenings, good food. A season of magic and excitement. But, beneath all the tinsel and the wrappings, there’s still some things we struggle with, aren’t there? Sometimes Christmas can be a hard time – especially if we’re feeling sad for some reason, or if we’re lonely and on our own, or struggling with a hard experience. We all know that just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean that all our problems suddenly disappear.


Our Gospel reading this week tells us the story of John the Baptist, alone in a prison cell, wondering if Jesus really is the one he’d been waiting for. It’s not a very Christmassy reading. This close to Christmas we might expect to be hearing about stables and mangers, or at least angels and babies soon to be born, and we’ll get around to that a little later in our service today. But at this point our Advent Bible reading set for today skips forward over thirty years from the Christmas story we’re all familiar with, and we’ll shortly be revisiting, to this story – of a man in prison, longing for light in a time of darkness. That feeling of longing for light in times of darkness is something that many of us can relate to. Advent is a time of waiting, a time of hope, and in a world that can feel all too dark at times, we all need hope. There are many people who find this time of year hard, and it’s important to take time and acknowledge our difficulties, our struggles and our doubts. Christmas isn’t always joyful. There is room for difficulty in the Christmas story.


A greyscale photo of the bars of a prison cell


John, who had once proclaimed Jesus the coming Messiah, in the desert, is now in prison and unsure if Jesus really is the Messiah. Our own difficult times can cause us to doubt the goodness of God, too. But this passage teaches us not to ignore the questions we have, but to name them. When Jesus hears John’s question, he doesn’t condemn him, he responds with grace and says that John is the greatest person ever born. This story reminds us that doubt is okay. There is room for our doubt in the Christmas story.


So John is sitting in his prison cell, worrying about whether Jesus is the person he hoped. And what’s the good news message that John receives back from Jesus? Jesus tells him: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. Jesus is saying: the Kingdom of God is near, and it’s amazing! Jesus is saying: miracles are possible and they’re happening! Jesus is saying: I know it’s tough, but I’m here and I’m bringing you freedom. It’s a message that has been proclaimed for many hundreds of years, the same message we heard in the Isaiah reading and the Psalm today. Jesus is coming: the Kingdom of God is coming! It was a message of hope, for John the Baptist, in his prison cell.


There is room for hope in the Christmas story.


Hands holding the word 'hope' on upturned palms


Jesus’ message to John includes all the people who might usually not be included: disabled people, poorly people, poor people. But Jesus includes them all, Jesus includes everyone. And this is the good news of the message: There is room for YOU in the Christmas story. You, with all your difficulties, doubts, hopes and fears. Whoever you are. There is room for you.


The story of John reminds us that Jesus welcomes us with all our doubts and difficulties. Jesus says that John is the greatest person ever born, and that he’s played an important part in God’s story. Just like John we each have a part to play in God’s story. God has made each of us unique so we can all play our own part. We can all talk about the good news: that in God’s amazing Kingdom every single one of us is loved and free.
Louise George (adapted from The Vine)




Readings for 18 December

Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.


20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”


A Playmobil scene depicting the angel visiting Joseph


22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).


24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Isaiah 7:10-16
  • Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
  • Romans 1:1-7



Readings for 25 December

John 1:1-14 (NIV)

The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.


14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Isaiah 52:7-10
  • Psalm 98
  • Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)




Readings for 1 January

Matthew 2:13-23 (NIV)

The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”


Stained Glass in the Chapel of Notre-Dame-des-flots (1857) in Sainte Adresse, Le Havre, France, depicting the Flight to Egypt
Stained Glass in the Chapel of Notre-Dame-des-flots (1857) in Sainte Adresse, Le Havre, France, depicting the Flight to Egypt


14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”


16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:


18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”


The Return to Nazareth
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”


21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.


Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Isaiah 63:7-9
  • Psalm 148
  • Hebrews 2:13-23


An open Bible with poinsettia flowers and red candles on the table behind it



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 a carol service led by Christ Church members. 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

18 December – Christ Church worship group – carol service

25 December – Sue Lloyd (Methodist local preacher) – Christmas Day service

1 January – Christ Church worship group

8 January – Catherine Wells (Methodist local preacher) – parade service




Christmas at Christ Church

Wooden nativity figures against a cream background with the words 'Christmas at Christ Church'

Advent Bible Study – Tuesdays 11am until 20 December

Join us in the chapel or online via Zoom as we reflect on the theme of making room at Christmas through some of the key players in the Christmas story. Please see Louise for more details.


Carols and Mince Pies – Friday 16 December, 12noon

Our annual carols and mince pies will take place in the chapel on Friday 16th December at 12noon. All welcome.


Carol Service – Sunday 18 December

Our carol service this year is a ‘Songs of Praise’ style carol service with a selection of carols chosen by members of our congregation.


Christmas Day service – Sunday 25 December, 11am

Our Christmas morning service will be led by Methodist local preacher, Sue Lloyd. There will be an option for a show and tell during this service if you would like to bring a gift along.


Church charity news

Christmas cards on sale

Christmas cards featuring Amirah’s winning design from the children’s Christmas card competition are now available at coffee mornings at £2.50 for a pack of 5 cards. All profits from sales of the Christmas cards will be donated to Halo.


50th anniversary Christmas cards featuring a drawing of a reindeer and the words 'Merry Christmas'


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



A cartoon of the three kings visiting Mary and Jesus, with Mary looking shocked and holding up a negligee with the kings also looking shocked. The caption reads "I sure hope my wife likes myrrh"
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc – www.reverendfun.com)



From our denominations

Circuit news

The latest issue of Circuit Life is now available here.

The Circuit Office will be closed from 2pm on 21st December and will reopen on Tuesday 3rd January.


New date for URC 50th Anniversary Service


Following on from the postponement of the original event due to rail strikes, we have been working hard to find a new date to celebrate the URC’s 50th.


The URC 50th anniversary logo with the words 'Faith. Hope. Love. Since 1972"


You will no doubt appreciate that finding a revised date which works for those leading the service and the availability of Methodist Central Hall has not been an easy task. Our initial hopes for May 6 were scuppered when the new King chose that date for his Coronation!


We’re delighted to announce that the new date is Saturday 15 April 2023. In an ideal world, we would have opted for a longer gap after Easter, but we hope that as many members and friends of the URC will be able to join us for our delayed anniversary celebrations.

The Open Church House event at 86 Tavistock Place, WC1H 9RT, will also take place on April 15 from 10am-12 noon.



If you have a ticket and are able to come to the event on April 15, please do nothing – your ticket is still valid. Please bring it/them on the day. If you would like more tickets, please visit https://bit.ly/urc50 and amend your order.

If you are no longer able to attend, please https://bit.ly/urc50 and select Cancel Order. This will free up your tickets for others. 50@urc.org.uk and we can cancel the order for you.


Anniversary Choir

If you would like to sing in the Anniversary Choir, you can find out more details and the dates of the rehearsals by visiting https://bit.ly/urc50-choir


Stewards and enquiries

If you are able to volunteer as a Steward at the service, please email 50@urc.org.uk which is also the email address for any enquiries relating to the new date.

With warmest wishes and thanks,

Andy Jackson, URC Head of Communications

Hillingdon Warm Spaces

Drop-in for warmth, company and a cuppa.


Mondays to Fridays
9.30am – 1.30pm Hillingdon Park Baptist Church (Tel: 01895 814424)


10am – 12noon St Margaret’s (Tel: 01895 258766)
10am – 2pm Christ Church (Tel: 01895 258956)


10am – 3pm Salvation Army (Tel: 01895 234088)
10am – 11am Waterloo Road Church (first Wednesday of the month only) (Tel: 01895 257663)


10am – 3pm Salvation Army (Tel: 01895 234088)


11am – 1pm St Margaret’s (Tel: 01895 258766)


9.30am – 11.30am Waterloo Road Church (first Saturday of the month only) (Tel: 01895 257663)


Other activities with a warm welcome
Tuesdays and Thursdays
10am – 2pm Café at Christ Church (Tel: 01895 258956)


Monday to Friday
12noon Lunches at Hillingdon Park Baptist Church (Tel: 01895 814424)


A warm spaces register can also be found online at https://www.warmwelcome.uk/


Communion Services in the Circuit and LAG

Our next communion service at Christ Church will be on Sunday 29 January. If you would like to attend a communion service in December or early January, please see the list below of communion services taking place around the Circuit and LAG:



Sunday 18th December

10.45am – Kenton Methodist, Ruislip Methodist

11am – Hayes End Methodist, Ickenham URC, Pinner Methodist


Saturday 24th December

5pm – Pinner Methodist


Sunday 1st January

10.30am – Trinity, Harrow (URC & Methodist)



CTU Friendly Bible Study series – Jan-Feb 2023 – Judith

(Apocryphal) Book of Judith chapters 8-16

Dear friends

You’re invited to an 8 session series studying how God speaks to us through the lurid tale of the Jewish heroine who takes on the captain of the Asyrians with guts, guile, prayer & song.


Judith with Holofernes' head; her maid behind her. Line engraving by Judith with Holofernes' head; her maid behind her. Line engraving by Cristofano Allori (1577–1621)


Weekly: Tuesdays 1.15 – 2.15 pm. Quaker Meeting House, York Road.

From January 3rd to 21st February 2023

You might like to read the first part (available online at https://www.bible.com/bible/37/JDT.1.ceb) but we’ll recap regularly on the whole narrative, and there should be enough translations available to compare and explore together. Hope to see you there!

Contact: chair@churchestogether-uxbridge.com or call 0775 7775625

Mike Béranek




Children’s Corner

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


Praying for other churches

w/c 18 December 2022

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Cannon Lane Methodist
  • Acton Hill (URC/Methodist)


w/c 25 December 2022

This week we hold our own church, Christ Church, in our prayers.


w/c 1 January 2023

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Eastcote Methodist
  • URC at Eastcote and Northwood Hills



Closing prayer

May the God who knows where you come from and where you should be going, go with you.
May the God who knows your hopes and dreams, bless you – and others through you – more than you can possibly imagine.
May the God who was with Joseph and Mary in all that they faced, be known to you as Immanuel – God with you. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)


Hands clasped in prayer against a colourful background


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‘Look-In’ – 16 December 2022
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