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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our God is at work in the world,
spreading love, joy, peace and hope.
Let us learn to see where God is at work
and tend the seeds that God has sown.
Heavenly Father, you are a generous, loving God.
Show us your work,
reveal your character and shape our lives
that we might follow your pattern and share in your work.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 9 July
Readings – John 15: 1-17 and 1 Peter 1: 1-2
This is the first service in a series of five called ‘Frontline Sundays’ where we’ll be focusing on who we are and where we are in our everyday lives and what that means for us as Christians.
In this slide, the red dots represent you and me; those of us here today. They represent the 6% of UK population worshipping in a Christian church once a month or more. This is us on a Sunday – our gathered church.
During the week, we go out to our schools, our workplaces, our communities. The next slide represents us outside church. The red dots scattered amongst the sea of grey dots. This is our scattered church.
When we’re in our gathered church, we’re that small clustered group represented in the first slide. But when we’re scattered, going to the places we are during the week, we’re touching all those lives around us as you can see in this final slide.
This series of services is part of us exploring what you may have heard me refer to as “whole-life” discipleship. Discipleship is a tricky word but it basically means trying to live our lives to be more like Jesus, and the “whole-life” bit means doing that where we are in our everyday lives.
A disciple is someone who follows the teachings of someone – Jesus in our case.
As Christians we may feel that we have been called to follow Jesus – “chosen” if you like. In our first reading Jesus says to his disciples “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.”
“Chosen” is also a word used in the NIV version of the reading we heard from 1 Peter where the letter starts “To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
The terms “chosen” and “God’s elect” might not sit comfortably with us though. I quite like The Message’s way of phrasing it “God the Father has his eye on each of you”.
Let’s think of Peter as talking to those of us who are the red dots. Gathering together as we are right now, here in church. We do this for several reasons:
- to learn more about God,
- to listen out to what God might have to say to us,
- to encourage and strengthen each other.
Our gathered church – us, here in this building, worshipping together – this is what people think of when they think of “the church”. But this is just one hour on Sunday! The rest of the time we are scattered throughout the area around this building – going into schools and workplaces and communities in Uxbridge, in west London, in central London, in the surrounding counties – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire.
We’ve heard that word “scattered” in our reading too. Peter is “writing to exiles scattered to the four winds” This is where we are most of the time, not gathered in our church, but scattered around lots of different places – places that we’ll be referring to as our “frontlines”.
We all have our own different frontlines where we encounter people. Where we have opportunities to share our faith. These are the places where God has placed us to be. Where are your frontlines?
We focus a lot on our church life. But our everyday life matters to God too. The thought of going out into our “frontlines” and sharing our faith might be scary, but we don’t do it alone. Jesus reminds the disciples in our first reading that they can’t bear fruit by themselves. They have to remain in him – focus on him. And that’s where the gathered church comes in. We gather to learn more about God, to strengthen and equip ourselves, and then we scatter to take some of what we’ve heard and learnt here today out to the places where we are, before coming back once more to gather and regroup.
Readings for 16 July
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
The Parable of the Sower
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Isaiah 55: 10-13
- Psalm 65: (1-8), 9-13
- Romans 8: 1-11
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 minister, Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim. 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.
16 July – Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim (Methodist minister)
23 July – Christ Church worship group (Louise George)
30 July – Revd Sue McCoan (URC minister) – Holy Communion
6 August – Christ Church worship group (Joanne Mackin)
Church charity news
Table-top sale – Saturday 23rd September, 10am – 3pm
There will be a table-top sale in aid of our church charity, Communicare Counselling Service, on Saturday 23rd September 2023, 10 am to 3pm.
Trestle tables will cost £10 each. I shall be selling my goods in aid of Christ Church funds. If you wish to book a table, please contact me on 07810 433986 or the church office.
You can find more details about Communicare Counselling Service, our church charity for 2023 at:
Who are we?
In the Sunday service on July 9, Louise asked us to think about who we are. Could that be defined by identifying the place where we spend most of our time? There are other ways of describing ourselves too. By the job we do or did, the social activities in which we join, the organisations to which we belong or support, the circle of friendships that we move in, and many others.
One day each of us will need an obituary!! Perhaps we should think about what we would like said that would truly represent on the person we were?
Voices in Accord concert
Songs for a Summer Afternoon – Saturday 15th July, 2.45pm at North Hillingdon Methodist Church
Voices in Accord, conducted by Alison Elcoat, present ‘Songs for a Summer Afternoon’ – a concert in aid of the Hillingdon Brain Tumour Group at North Hillingdon Methodist Church, 260 Long Lane, Hillingdon UB10 9PB on Saturday 15th July 2023 at 2.45pm. No tickets are required but there will be a retiring collection for the charity.
Dates for your diary
10 September – Congregational meeting
23 September – Table-top sale in aid of Communicare Counselling Service
30 September – URC Learning Hub (focusing on small groups and intentional relationships)
14 October – Quiz night in aid of Communicare Counselling Service
19 November – Congregational meeting
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Wealdstone Methodist
- Wembley Park URC
we thank you that you have never stopped
sowing your word among us.
Give us receptive hearts
and make us fruitful for you in the week to come.
(Taken from Roots)