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)
Be Still. Pause.
This is a time for you to connect to the Divine.
Abba. Spirit. Jesus. Holy One. God.
Their presence is around you now.
In the stillness, notice them.
In the stillness, welcome them.
In the stillness, be open to them.
In this space, worship them.
And today, you have been forgiven and set free by God’s unbounding grace.
This is why we worship, and today you step into a river of worship, flowing all around the world, at all times.
Bring your own prayers to God for a moment. Pause.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)
Prayer for Israel and Palestine
How can we call a land “Holy”,
when a festival site
becomes a killing ground
and a hospital
becomes a grave?
Christ, have mercy
upon the land of your birth
and all who know it as home.
May the prophecy of Isaiah find fruition
in this time and place:
No more shall infants live but a few days
or the lives of older people be cut short.
No more shall weeping and distress
echo across the plains.
No more shall children be borne
Let houses be built and lived in.
Let vineyards be planted and enjoyed.
Let enemies come and eat together
and the days of hurt and destruction
In Jesus’ name we pray.
(From the Methodist Circuit newsletter)
Reflection from 5 November – Three Philosophies
Reading – Luke 10: 25-37
Jesus of Nazareth must surely claim a place among the great short story tellers of ancient times, for in the Gospels we have a wonderful collection of over twenty tales that he passed on in his teaching. These little gems of literature are mainly based on events from everyday life.
Those who heard them from his lips had no means of recording them. They just remembered them – and they were indeed memorable. Nor are they just stories, but essential parts of the teaching of Jesus. They are parables, with depths of meaning. You will have realised that I have chosen to concentrate on the story of the Good Samaritan today.
The setting of the incident is the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem is 2200 feet above sea level. Jericho is 1300 feet below sea level. The road falls over 3000 feet in 23 miles. It is said that if you get your car running in Jerusalem, you can switch off the engine, and roll all the way to Jericho.
In Bible times it was a lonely road. On either side were barren hills and deep valleys. The slopes were pocketed with caves – an ideal haunt for thieves. There was an inn along the road, because there was an underground supply of water – the only water along the route. That is the setting of the parable.
It is said that there are three philosophies – three ways of looking at life, and the first is the philosophy of the robbers.
WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE. I’LL TAKE IT.
The parable tells of a traveller who had been attacked, robbed. beaten up and left for dead by the roadside. The thieves had no concern for their victim, or what might happen to him. Thieving was their business. Property that people had collected through hard and honest work they took by violence.
WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE. I’LL TAKE IT.
Every generation has its robbers, and ours is no exception. Indeed I’m inclined to say that this is the year of the scam. Every day people in this country, hundreds of them, are victims. I read the other day that one person in 15 has been the victim of a scam. Some have lost thousands of pounds. Fraud now makes up 40% of all crime. Scammers can find out everything – personal details, passwords, code numbers. The banks now have departments where staff constantly search account details, looking for unusual withdrawals of money.
There has recently been an outbreak of blatant shoplifting, and the police in some cases appear to have been unwilling to take notice. Expensive watches have been stolen from people’s wrists. Hundreds of mobile phones are snatched every day. It is disturbing to think that there are hundreds of people scheming to steal from their fellow citizens. More homes are now fitted with security alarms. CCTV cameras proliferate. We have to be constantly vigilant, remember to lock up, and keep a chain on the door because there are many who live by the philosophy WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE. I’LL TAKE IT.
We move now to the priest and the Levite, who passed by without going to the aid of the wounded victim. What is their philosophy?
WHAT’S MINE IS MINE. I’LL KEEP IT.
Both men were good citizens, religious professionals in fact, with duties in the Jerusalem temple. Upright and law-abiding men. They should have stopped to help the casualty, but they did not. The main reason, I suggest, was fear. They knew that robbers were in the vicinity and might strike again. The safest plan was to get out of that place as quickly as possible.
The temptation is always to live selfishly. “Look after no. 1. Nobody else will”, people say. The trouble is that selfishness wrecks human relationships. You can’t live comfortably with someone who always puts themselves first. Selfish people are surprised when they are alone.
The Russian writer Dostoevsky wrote a story about a woman who died and was consigned to eternal torment. In her agony she cried out for mercy. At length an angel said, “I can help you if you can remember one altogether unselfish thing you did while on earth.” She began to remember her good deeds, but realised that every one of them had been done from a motive of self-interest.
At the point of despair she recalled a carrot she had once given to a beggar. It had only been a small withered carrot that she would not have used in her stew, but the angel consulted the record and it showed that the act had been prompted by unselfishness.
Down the limitless space between heaven and hell the carrot was lowered on a slender string. Could this weak thing bear her weight, and lift her out of torment? She grasped the withered carrot, and slowly began to rise. Then she felt a weight dragging at her, looked down, and other tormented souls were clinging to her hoping to escape as well. She shouted, “Let go. Let go. This is MY carrot”. The string broke, and she fell back into the pains of hell.
The second philosophy is WHAT’S MINE. I’LL KEEP IT.
And so we come thirdly to the Samaritan. “The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans” says the text. That’s quite an understatement! For 450 years a feud had existed between the two parties, and it was all to do with racial purity. When, centuries ago, the Syrian army had invaded Samaria, some intermarriage had taken place between Jews and Syrians. The Jews regarded that as unforgiveable.
Normally no Samaritan would have gone to assist a Jew, but this one did – and more. He risked his life by staying in that dangerous area. He gave first-aid to the injured man, he took him to the inn, saw that he was properly looked after, and paid the bill for it all.
And his philosophy was WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS. I’LL SHARE IT. Thank God there are good Samaritans about today, and I don’t just mean The Samaritans, the telephone answering service run by volunteers for 24 hours a day.
Here is a story from Ickenham, told by a friend of ours called David Crane. (Sadly he has since passed away.) His wife had gone out for the day, but David decided to take a pile of garden rubbish to the tip at Harefield. He loaded the car and set off, but his car suddenly failed in Harvil Road. He managed to roll forward onto the verge and came to a halt outside a house. Up went the bonnet, but there was no obvious fault. His mobile phone and tools were at home. A man came out from a nearby house and allowed David to use his phone and leave a message for his wife. What next?
A few minutes later another man pulled into his drive nearby, and asked David what was the matter. On hearing the explanation this Samaritan swung into action. He grabbed a towrope and pulled David’s car into his drive. It was a hot day, and David was invited in for a cold drink. He then insisted that David’s garden rubbish be transferred to his car, and they drove to the tip with it. They then drove to David’s house, where his wife had by then returned. All three then drove to Harvil Road and towed the broken-down car to David’s house. Throughout the incident his helper was calm and kind, and wouldn’t accept a penny. He went well beyond what David would have expected.
WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS. I’LL SHARE IT
And this surely is the way of Jesus himself. No wonder he has been called “The man for others.” He gave himself unreservedly – his time energy, insights, sympathy. He held nothing back, but spent himself in the service of others. His was the path of self-giving, and in the end he gave his life on that cross outside the city wall.
Three philosophies. What’s yours is mine, I’ll take it. What’s mine is mine, I’ll keep it. What’s mine is yours, I’ll share it.
There is no doubt about which of these three is the most difficult, but our Lord demands it. It is a real way of life, tried, tested and found workable in the tough arena of human experience.
Readings for 12 November
Matthew 25: 1-13
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Amos 5: 18-24
- Psalm 70
- 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
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 our Remembrance Sunday service led by Methodist minister, Revd Julie King. This service will start at the earlier time of 10.50am to allow the Act of Remembrance to take place at 11am. 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.
12 November – Revd Julie King (Methodist minister) – Remembrance Sunday, 10.50am
19 November – Lilian Evans (URC lay preacher)
26 November – Revd Jon Dean (URC minister) – Holy Communion
3 December – Richard Reid (Methodist local preacher) (1st Sunday in Advent)
Church charity news
Silent auction – now live!
Our silent auction is now live and the catalogue can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ccsilentauctionitems2023. It’s now time to get your bids in! To place a bid for an item, you can either contact Louise directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 07971 514997. You can also leave your bid in a sealed envelope in the church office marked ‘Silent Auction, FAO: Louise George’. The closing date for bids is Sunday 19 November and the winners will be contacted directly within a couple of days of the closing date.
Thank you to everyone who attended our recent fundraising events. The table-top sale has raised £163 and the quiz £249.58. The total raised so far for CCS is £1025.16
You can find more details about Communicare Counselling Service, our church charity for 2023 at:
Carol sing along
I hope you will be able to join us this year for our carol service on Sunday 17th December. We hope to have a service of great carols to really get us into Christmas and the great gift the Christ Child is for us all. What we need now is your nominations for your favourite carols, the ones that speak to you and bring you joy, peace and wonder at this time of year. Additionally you can nominate favourite readings and poems etc. that we can also include. If you are willing, you can also introduce /read your suggestion on the day but that is entirely optional. So let’s make it a really special service where we can belt out those fabulous carols and songs that make Christmas so special. Contact Joanne by email on email@example.com or leave a message for her in the office by 1st December.
CTU Christmas carols
Wednesday 6th December, 4.30pm at The Pavilions
This year’s CTU Christmas carols at the Pavilions will be held on Wednesday 6th December at 4.30pm. If anyone would be interested in being part of a singing group to sing a few carols please let Louise know.
Interfaith Peace Symposium
Sunday 19 November, 12pm – 3pm, Quaker Meeting House, Uxbridge
We invite you to partake in our Interfaith Peace Symposium, join us for a meal, an opportunity to engage with individuals of diverse faiths and hear messages of peace. Quakers & Ahmadiyya Muslims are jointly hosting the event at the historic Quaker Meeting House for a much called-for time of sharing and prayerful listening.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Mike Beranek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07757 775625.
Hillingdon Interfaith Week
19-26 November 2023
The following events are planned to mark Interfaith Week in Hillingdon:
Sunday 19th November
12noon-3pm. Event: Peace Symposium and complimentary lunch hosted by Quakers and Ahamadiyya Muslims. Quaker Meeting House, 150 York Road, Uxbridge UB8 1QW.
Monday 20th November
2-3pm. Mayor’s Civic Service. St Margaret’s Church, Windsor Street, Uxbridge.
8pm. Event: A Presentation on Multi-faith Chaplaincy at Heathrow Airport. Hayes Muslim Centre, 3 Pump Lane, Hayes Town, UB3 3NB.
Thursday 23rd November
1pm. Event: HIC Presentation Lunch for Head teachers and Guests. St Margaret’s Church, Windsor Street, Uxbridge.
Sunday 26th November
1pm. Event: Food Fair. Sant Nirankari Satsang Bhawan. Centre for Oneness. Sipson Lane, Hayes UB3 5EU. Contact: email@example.com
All the events are open to the public. The only exception is the event on Thursday which is for those who are interested in representing their faith in an educational context. Please RSVP by November 15th as places are rapidly filling up and we need to give accurate figures to our caterer. Food will be selected to accommodate the dietary needs of different faith communities.
Dates for your diary
|15 November||Welcome Wednesdays|
|19 November||Interfaith Peace Symposium
Silent auction closing date
|29 November||Welcome Wednesdays|
|6 December||CTU Christmas carols|
|10 December||Congregational meeting with bring and share lunch|
|13 December||Welcome Wednesdays|
|15 December||Carols and mince pies|
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Northwood Methodist
- St John’s, Northwood URC
- St Andrew’s, Uxbridge
May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly;
up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.
(Scottish blessing, author unknown)