A hay bale, corn sheaves and a basket of fruit and veg in front of an altar

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. 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)




Opening Prayer

Loving God,
your generosity is as vast as the sky,
as deep as the ocean, as stunning as a sunset,
as beautiful as a smile, as mysterious as silence,
as profound as birdsong, as unique as love.
We can only stand in awe
and ask that you help us become more like you:
more generous, more compassionate, more just.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)







Reflection from 17 September

Reading – Matthew 18: 21-35


I’m going to try this morning to bring three things together. Obviously, we have a harvest theme. The theme for the lectionary is about forgiveness and then I’ve been asked to say something about stewardship.



There are some things that we think of, perhaps traditionally, at harvest time. We’re perhaps not seeing those sorts of things from day to day, although we do have farming families represented here, I know. There are other harvests as well, aren’t there? A harvest of what comes up out of the ground from the mines, the harvest of the sea, the fish that we have to eat. And even our water. We might not think about harvesting water, but we do – we treat it and we purify it for our own use.


There are lots of ways in which God provides for us, which gives us a harvest and people have been thanking God for that for many, many thousands of years. In Exodus, it says, “Celebrate the festival of harvest” with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your fields.” And in the middle of the 1800s, a Church of England vicar, I can’t remember where, invented what we came to call the harvest festival. Now, some of us who are a bit older will remember when harvest festivals meant that everybody brought things that had been grown on the local farms, things that people had grown in their gardens, produce that the mums had made in the homes and so on. And of course, when the church had collected all those things, they were given to the people in the area who were in need.


A church decorated with fruit and veg for harvest


We still do that today, except it doesn’t look like that, because we’ve moved on with preserving food really, with canning and with freezing and so on. But we still celebrate harvest. We still bring the things, and they still go to people who need them. The items brought today are going to one of our local food banks. to help people who are in need. So we’re both saying thank you and we’re sharing with others. We’re stewarding, which is the third topic for today.



So the question in today’s reading is about forgiveness. And like many other things, the Jewish people were very concerned about how they carried out the rules that they’d been given. They’d been told that they must forgive people, so knowing how difficult that is, and it is, isn’t it, folks, Peter wanted to know, ‘well, what’s the extent of it – do I forgive once or twice or whatever?’ And this business of seven and 70 times and all the rest of it comes up. Seven is just a big number in the Bible, really, and 40 comes up as well. Numbers that to them meant just anything enormous and beyond understanding. Seven probably came from the seven days of creation when everything was complete.


And so wherever they used seven or 70 or 40, they’re talking about doing it forever. There’s no limit, Jesus is saying, to the times, the forgiveness we should show to people.


Well, what’s that got to do with harvest? I got thinking about that, and I thought it’s about how we deal with each other, isn’t it? In a sense, there is a harvest of people in our lives as well.  And if we’re not nice to folk, if we cut them out and so on, then we’re really not being good stewards (that’s the third bit), we’re not making the most of them. We’re not really making the harvest of the gifts that God has given us with the people around us.


So I think there is a link. We’ve had the harvest of produce, and we’ve got the harvest of people. And we’re told to forgive and to love and to live together in harmony and to develop each other if we can, just in the same way that we develop our foodstuffs.



The third thing that I want to touch on, and I’ve been asked to, is stewardship. We’ve already talked about stewardship, haven’t we, in terms of the stewardship of the earth and all that it gives us, and the stewardship of each other. Now what’s this stewardship thing? Well, sometimes I think in churches, stewardship is thought in terms of stewardship campaigns – thinking about how much money you give to the church, you know. But it’s much, much more than that. It’s about caring for what we’re given and about using it wisely. It’s about acknowledging the gifts and saying thank you for them as we are today. Not just for our money, but our possessions, our time, our talents, and our skills. All of those we should thank God for and we should make provision for returning some of that to him, especially, to use in his work.


Cupped hands holding a handful of coins


So it includes how we look after that type of harvest. It includes how we look after people, the things we’ve already thought about.


And when it comes to money, I suppose it doesn’t figure very much in the lives of you very young folk, because, you know, adults pay things for you and you probably don’t have dealings with a lot of coins. But maybe as you get a bit older, you get pocket money and you do start to think about what to do with your money. And I remember one family here where the children were expected to make their contributions to the church out of their pocket money, which was an interesting thing, wasn’t it? I think so. Get them in the right habit.


Now, for those of us who are older, hopefully we have money coming in from jobs or if we’re not able to work through benefits and so on and we have the opportunity to return some of that to God. And the question comes up about how much. Some folk will tell you that in the Bible it says that you should do something called tithing, where 10% of your income should go to the church or to giving. And I know that years and years ago, I don’t know if it was the United Reformed Church or it might have been so long ago that it was a congregational church, had the thought that the guidance would be that we might give 5% of our income to the church and another 5% in our charitable giving elsewhere. I’m not going to go on about all that this morning, but I think you’ve given opportunity for your church treasurer to take up that theme and talk to you about giving and so on and stewardship generally, because it’s not just the money, but the whole operation of the church at your wonderful congregational meetings.


So this stewardship is about everything that we receive from God and caring for it all. I think this image really represents what we should be about.


Hands from people of different ethnic groups holding up a globe


Here’s hands of people across the world, all praising God for what we’ve received and supporting his work. After Jesus had taken on the servant’s job of washing his friend’s feet after a dusty journey, he said, “Now that you know these things, you know that’s what you’re supposed to do. Look after each other and the world. You will be blessed if you do them.”
Graham Hinton






Readings for 24 September

Matthew 20: 1-16

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Jonah 3: 10 – 4: 11
  • Psalm 145: 1-8
  • Philippians 1: 21-30






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 covenant and communion service led by Methodist minister, Revd Dr Leao Neto. 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

24 September – Revd Dr Leao Neto (Methodist minister) – Holy Communion

1 October – Anne Byfield (URC lay preacher)

8 October – Peter Davies (Methodist local preacher)

15 October – Christ Church worship group




Welcome Wednesdays

Starting 4th October, alternate Wednesdays 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Welcome Wednesdays will be a warm space for socialising for both the members and community of Christ Church and anyone who needs a warm space or company.  It is primarily a time for us as the church to open a space for socialising and being together and being open to anyone who wants to join us. It will run from 12.30pm until 2.30pm on alternate Wednesdays in the meeting area from 4th October till the end of the year. We will serve tea, coffee and biscuits along with cuppa soups and bread or toast. Some books and magazines will be provided along with a few games if people would like to have these available. You can also come along and bring your craft project if you wish.


A steaming cup of coffee with a heart shaped biscuit leaning against the cup


Welcome Wednesdays will be running on the following dates: 4th October, 18th October, 1st November, 15th November, 29th November and 13th December. If you have any questions please see Joanne Mackin.


We hope you will join us for our Welcome Wednesdays whenever you can make it.







Church charity news

We have two events coming up as fundraisers for our church charity:


Table-top sale – Saturday 23 September, 10am – 3pm

A variety of crafts and other items available along with tea, coffee and cakes from our coffee morning, which will be hosted by our Girls’ Brigade company. If you are interested in booking a table for £10, please speak to Jean George.


Quiz supper – Saturday 14 October, 6.30pm in the Watts Hall

Come and join us for a fun quiz evening along with a supper of fish and chips (or sausage/veggie burger/chicken and chips). Tickets cost £15 per person. Booking forms are available in the meeting area. Please return your completed form and payment to the office by Friday 6 October.


Fish and chips with a lemon wedge on a sheet of greaseproof paper


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




A cartoon of Noah on the ark talking to his wife and holding up a sock. The caption reads "Apparently I have two of everything except socks."
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc – www.reverendfun.com)




CTU Bible exploration: Just Economics

Tuesdays, 12.30pm – 1.30pm from 26 September

What should the goal of the economy be? Why isn’t our current system enabling people to flourish, especially as the cost of living crisis bites? Could a change in approach help us solve the climate crisis? What does our Christian faith have to say about the economy?


“Just ECONOMICS” is a six-session small group course, opening up some of these questions and starting a conversation about how the economy might be re-shaped to enable the wellbeing of all people and the planet.


Suitable for individual or group study, this course is designed for people with no background in finance or economics. It is rooted in ideas found in the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and compares this with other thinking around money, poverty and wealth, leading us to examine our own attitudes to systems of worth and how our society could be changed for the better.


Each week we will be exploring a different theme as follows:

Week 1 – Crisis

Week 2 – Enough

Week 3 – Growth

Week 4 – Value

Week 5 – Freedom

Week 6 – Change


The sessions will be held in the chapel at Christ Church on Tuesdays from 12.30pm – 1.30pm from 26 September. All are welcome to attend.



Dates for your diary

23 September Table-top sale in aid of Communicare Counselling Service
26 September CTU Bible exploration group
30 September URC Learning Hub (focusing on small groups and intentional relationships).
3 October CTU Bible exploration group
4 October Welcome Wednesdays
10 October CTU Bible exploration group
14 October Quiz night in aid of Communicare Counselling Service
17 October CTU Bible exploration group
18 October Welcome Wednesdays
22 October Congregational meeting
24 October CTU Bible exploration group
31 October CTU Bible exploration group
1 November Welcome Wednesdays
15 November Welcome Wednesdays
29 November Welcome Wednesdays
10 December Congregational meeting with bring and share lunch
13 December Welcome Wednesdays




Children’s Corner

A series of four pictures depicting the story of the workers in the vineyard
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2023. Reproduced with permission.)







Praying for other churches

This week we hold Harrow & Hillingdon Methodist Circuit in our prayers.


Closing prayer

God, send us out as workers in your vineyard,
to do whatever you call us to do,
to do it fairly and without favour,
so that all may share in your harvest of generosity.
(Taken from Roots)









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‘Look-In’ – 22 September 2023
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