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)
Father God, you know us better than we know ourselves;
yet you still love us.
Lord Jesus, help us to become more like you,
so that others will see you in us.
Spirit of the living God fall on us afresh today
and remake us in God’s image. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
A Prayer for the King and Queen
You order and govern our world and all that is therein,
bless, we pray, Charles and Camilla
that they may feel your loving presence,
and fulfil faithfully the roles prescribed for them,
and that we may, in this kingdom, be better governed,
and always reminded of your eternal Kingdom which is to come. Amen.
(From the URC prayers prepared for the coronation)
Reflection from 30 April
Reading: John 10:1-10, Acts 2: 42-47
We’re familiar with the image of Jesus as the good shepherd. When thinking of a shepherd looking after his sheep, what springs to mind?
- Someone looking out for you
- Someone who has your best interests at heart
In our reading today, Jesus doesn’t specifically refer to himself as the shepherd, but instead as “the gate”. The shepherd is the one who enters through the gate, and there is a reference to the gatekeeper who opens the gate.
What do we think of when we think of a gate?
- Something that lets things in when it is open.
- Something that keeps things out when it is closed.
Who opens the gate? The gatekeeper. I think as a church, we can sometimes be a bit of a gatekeeper.
- How do we include and exclude others?
- How do we prevent people from coming to know Jesus?
We talked a little last week about barriers that might prevent disabled people from coming to know Jesus and being part of the life of the church and how we might ‘go through the roof’ to help make it easier for others to meet Jesus.
One of the things that was mentioned while I was chatting to people after the service was our use of ‘churchy’ language. Those of us who come to services here regularly may understand what a ‘call to worship’ is, or what the offertory is for, or how we share bread and wine in a communion service, but does someone walking in for the first time know these things? And even those of us who would describe ourselves as regular worshippers here might find ourselves disorientated and confused in a church that is very different in style to our own. There may be many little ways in which we exclude others without even being aware of it.
But a gate is also there to be opened and to let others in. So, let’s think about that for a moment. How are we open to others? How do we welcome people here?
- Having someone on the door to welcome people as they come in to the church.
- Live-streaming our services so that those who cannot physically be with us can join in.
- Chatting to people over tea and coffee after the service.
- Inviting people to come to church events, or to find out more via our newsletter.
Jesus said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.”
I like that image of coming in, then going out and finding pasture. When I reflected on those words in preparation for this morning’s service, the image that came into my mind was of how we come in to church each Sunday and then go out again into our daily lives, into the everyday places and situations that God leads us to. We come together in fellowship, like those believers in the early church did in our reading from Acts. Meeting together, learning together, praying together before we go out again.
Jesus is the gate. Who is the one who enters through the gate? It is the shepherd. So, hang on a minute, if Jesus is inviting us to enter through the gate, through him, if we’re the ones entering, doesn’t that make us the shepherds as well as the sheep? And when we think of the image of a shepherd, we think ‘the Lord is my shepherd’ – we think of Jesus. So we are being invited to come through the gate and to be more like Jesus. Which makes sense, because as Christians, we are called to live more Christ-like lives, to follow the calling that God has for us, to give to those in need, to use our gifts in the way God directs us to. And if we follow that calling, if we listen to God’s direction in our lives then as our reading from John concludes, we “may have life, and have it to the full.”
Readings for 7 May
John 14: 1-14 (NIV)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Acts 7: 55-60
- Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16
- 1 Peter 2: 2-10
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 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.
7 May – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and Christ Church member)
14 May – Christ Church worship group – parade service
21 May – Jo Davies (Methodist local preacher)
28 May – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and Christ Church member) – Holy Communion
King’s Coronation Volunteering Day
Monday 8th May, 10.30am – 4.30pm
To mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation, Monday 8th May has been suggested as a Big Help Out day where people are encouraged to use the extra bank holiday as an opportunity to get together and help out in their local communities.
We will be hosting our own volunteering day here at Christ Church with opportunities for everyone to join in. No matter what you are good at, there’ll be something to suit helping hands of all shapes and sizes, including jobs that can be done sitting down.
If you can spare an hour… fantastic. The day…? Amazing. If we all do a bit, it will really help a lot. We’ll be meeting at the church from 10.30am – 4.30pm and will have a shared meal afterwards.
Help us to do something amazing. Join in, lend a hand. make a change.
Visit to Chiltern Open Air Museum
Sunday 4th June
Join a trip after morning service on Sunday 4th June to the museum, where we can explore the rescued buildings, enjoy the gardens and beautiful Bucks scenery and say hello to the farm animals.
We’ll share cars so please let me know beforehand if you need a lift or can offer spaces. Mobility scooter loan may be possible, but let me know in good time if you need one. Light refreshments available or bring a picnic. Cost on the day £11.50 adult; £10.50 over-60/disabled/student; £8.50 child 4-16, cheaper if you book online yourself in advance. Get in touch if you have any questions.
CTU Bible study
CTU Friendly Bible Study series
Tuesdays, 1.15pm – 2.15pm at the Quaker Meeting House, York Road, Uxbridge
18th April – 6th June
Focusing on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. An hour-long session with tea available afterwards. All are welcome.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Hayes End Methodist
- St Andrew’s, Ealing URC
God, bless each one of us,
that we may we be aware
that that all we do in your name,
is part of the continuance of the work
that you, loving God has done
and continues to do for us, and all we serve. Amen.
(Adapted from The Vine)