Black coffee cup with steam on orange background.

Hello everyone,

Happy new year to you all! 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 (



Opening Prayer

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flock,
the work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among others,
to make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman




Reflection from 18 December

This year the thing that keeps coming into mind about the Christmas story is, Jesus in need and a refugee. We sit here knowing that there are so many refugees in this world today; 32.5millon in fact. There is war in the Ukraine and parts are occupied by foreign powers like so many countries around the world and Jesus knows what this was like.  We have a cost-of-living crisis here too. It can leave you feeling hopeless and not knowing what you can do to help. But in Mathew 25 verses 37- 40 we are reminded what we can do:


“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


This leaves me driven to do something here and now. So I am helping with our warm space. We have joined churches around Uxbridge and set up a warm space now to become A “warm welcome centre.” It’s a small doing, so you could join me, bring your knitting or any other activity you can do whilst chatting, chat to a few people and make a few cups of tea. It’s been a slow start but as the winter progresses, I think it will get busier. The financial cost to us isn’t great but there are a few overheads, which people are donating to help with. Other local ways are foodbanks who would appreciate your donations too. It is the locally that inspires me this year.


Black coffee cup with steam on orange background.


Whatever is speaking to you about the Christmas story this year, join me in using it as inspiration this Christmas.
Joanne Mackin



Reflection from 25 December

Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7 and Luke 2:1-14


‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.’

‘For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests on his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’.


In 1971 as part of the Apollo 15 mission a man called Jim Irwin walked on the moon. As he did so, looking from space towards earth he experienced what he later described as the power of God as he never had before. He spent the rest of his life, sharing the Good News of the gospel, declaring that Jesus walking on the earth was more important than man walking on the moon. None of us can travel back in time to the 1st Century BC, I don’t imagine many of us will walk on the moon in our lifetimes, but we can engage our imaginations as we embrace the mystery and reality of Christmas – the good news that from Jesus’ first cry onwards humanity has been able to know ‘God with us’ – the son of God who has the power to change our lives and the life of the world.


In the nativity story in Luke’s gospel held together is both the most ordinary and the most extraordinary. This story holds the simplicity of the stable and the wonder of a sky filled with light of heaven’s angels. It brings together individuals whose lives are entwined in an event, none of them could have believed possible. When the innkeeper and shepherds started their shifts that morning – who would have thought that by the end of the day their role and place in history would be recorded and retold over 2000 years later?


A baby in a manager inside a cave


The story holds the mess, dirt, pain, fear and discomfort alongside transforming love and new life. It challenges power and authority with vulnerability and weakness. As we read that the night skies are filled with the angel’s brightness in Luke’s account of Jesus birth – their song heralding the longed-for Messiah, we hear echoes of Isaiah’s prophecy of the promise of hope of a different future into the struggle and oppression that God’s people are living through. Isaiah’s expression of their hopes and longing for a reign of peace, justice, authority informed by compassion and justice seem to be a cry that we recognise from our daily reading of the news.


Into a world which is still witnessing humanity’s capacity for war and destruction, greed and the oppression of the vulnerable and marginalised – we pause to remember Christ’s coming amongst us again.


This is a God who chooses to come as one of us to all of us into a world characterised by uncertainty and instability, into a world where the powerful are challenged, into a world which seems to prize individual gain, we are called to prioritise compassion and care for one’s neighbour. Into the darkness the light breaks through. In every generation since the birth of Jesus God has called people to bear witness to the light of Christ. Bearing witness to the light means passing the message on, telling the good news, sharing our joy – and this calling is for each of us.


We might think that we only know a few people who we can really talk to about our faith – in school, in our work or with our families and friends. This may be our first Christmas or our 100th Christmas. In the incarnation we are given a story to tell – a narrative with twists and turns, death and life, joys and struggles. This is a story which speaks to all of us searching for meaning and hope in a world that is complex and broken. Sharing the love of Jesus is counter-cultural – speaking out and working for justice and peace is prophetic, it takes guts, courage and stamina. But we do not do it in our own strength – we do it in the strength and power of God working within us and with us, through the amazing grace of God. When we embrace Christ and his peace and love it will shine through our lives, even when we can’t imagine it possible.


As we pause to hear the story of the birth of Jesus this Christmas Day, as we meditate and reflect upon what it means to receive the Prince of Peace into our hearts, homes and encounters, may we be inspired as the shepherds were to praise God for this gift, the gift of risking all to be amongst us, giving his life for us, that raised to life and in the power of the Holy Spirit – ‘God with us’ may transform our world.
Christine Dutton (from The Vine)



Reflection from 1 January

Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9 and Matthew 2:13-23


It’s the start of a new year, a time when we greet each other with the words ‘Happy New Year’. A new year can sometimes feel like a new start – a moment when we can start over again, reset things, make resolutions, look forward with hope.


However, the start of new year can also be a difficult time. A reminder of time moving forward, a reminder of moments left in the past, a time when reflection brings memories of pain. A reminder that for many people around the world, the start of this new year is not one that brings happiness; that for many the new year brings anxiety, sadness, fear, pain and suffering. Those continuing to endure the horrors of war and conflict in Ukraine, those worrying about how to afford food or heating for their homes, those who are in hospital or have loved ones in hospital, those who are bereaved.


Our reading from Matthew this morning is a part of the Christmas story that we would much prefer to gloss over. It’s much nicer to end the nativity story at the point where the magi simply take a different route home. Even when we do look at this next part of the story, we tend to keep our focus on the Holy Family, escaping to the safety of Egypt. They got away from Herod’s wrath; they are safe. But for those innocent families in Bethlehem, simply living their lives, there came unimaginable horror. Families devastated through Herod’s slaughter of innocent baby boys. Families ripped apart, their joy of a new baby suddenly overturned and replaced with intense sorrow. The kind of horror that most of us probably couldn’t begin to imagine, and to be honest, I don’t think we’d want to try.


As a bereaved parent, perhaps it is not surprising that in this story, my attention is caught by the plight of those families left behind rather than on the Holy Family who were able to escape this horror. The words of the prophet Jeremiah speaking of “Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more” resonate with me because while I cannot imagine the horror of scores of innocent young children being senselessly murdered, I know all too well the agony of a loss that words of comfort can do nothing to ease.


I can imagine the kind of agonised questions that those families may have hurled at God in their grief. Why, God, why? How can a loving God allow such things to happen? They’re the kind of questions that often feel like they have no answers. Sometimes though the answer that comes back is “well it’s all part of God’s plan”. That’s an answer I struggle with, to be honest. I don’t think I believe that such awful atrocities are part of God’s plan. It’s a little easier for me to believe that mankind causes these things to happen, that this is the action of a jealous, insecure and brutal tyrant. Not God’s plan, but part of a wider story about God’s plans. A wider story where there are things going on at a level that perhaps we do not see and cannot imagine. While suffering and pain might not be part of God’s plan, maybe God is working through the suffering and the pain and bringing hope out of darkness.


We all need hope in times of darkness, to be able to believe that no matter how awful things seem to be, there will be a time when things will be better. Sometimes we need to actively look for the light in the darkness. In our reading from Isaiah, the author focuses on their intention to “tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised.” There is acknowledgment of a Saviour who comes alongside us in our distress – “in our distress he too was distressed” but one that brings hope too – a redeeming love and mercy, of being lifted up and carried.


God is with us, in the darkness as well as the light, and he gives us hope. And so at the start of this new year, we hold on to that hope. We may not know what God’s plans for us or our church are as we move forward into this new year, but we have faith that God will journey alongside us whatever this year will bring.
Louise George



Readings for 8 January

Matthew 3:13-17 (NIV)

The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.


16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”


Illustration of Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist


Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Isaiah 42:1-9
  • Psalm 29
  • Acts 10:34-43





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 parade service led by Methodist local preacher, Catherine Wells. 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

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

15 January – Christ Church worship group

22 January – Dr Paul Ashitey (URC lay preacher)

29 January – Revd Andrew Pottage (Methodist superintendent minister) – communion service




Church charity news

Church charity for 2023

Our church charity for 2023 will be Communicare Counselling Service. Our first fundraising event for Communicare will be our coffee morning on Saturday 7 January.

You can find more details about Communicare Counselling Service, our church charity for 2023 at:



A cartoon showing a man wearing white fleece talking to John the Baptist. The caption reads "Seriously John, you need to ditch that camel hair and try sheep!"
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc –



Other church events


CTU Friendly Bible study series

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

Until 21st February 2023

Currently focusing on the book of Judith. All welcome.



URC 50th Anniversary Service

Saturday 15th April at Methodist Central Hall

For more information, please visit





Children’s Corner

A picture puzzle with hidden smiley faces
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2023. Reproduced with permission.)

Praying for other churches

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Hayes Methodist
  • Ealing Green (URC/Methodist)



Closing prayer

May you live in the love of God,
in the friendship of Jesus,
and in the inspiration of the Spirit,
May you hear the voice from heaven that says,
‘You are my beloved child’,
And may that blessing dwell in you, now and always. Amen.
Revd Sue McCoan (Taken from the URC Worship Notes for 8 January)




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‘Look-In’ – 6 January 2023
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