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)
The God of grace is here to welcome you,
Jesus the Christ is here alongside you,
The Spirit moves by ways we do not know.
Our God comes close, closer than we can imagine.
Come close, Lord Jesus.
God who created the universe,
Christ who walked amongst us and continues to hold the cosmos together,
Spirit who moves, inspires and uplifts us,
I give you the thanks and praise this day.
Come close, Lord Jesus. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)
Prayer for Israel and Palestine
In a world that God made good
let us pray:
for people seeing things
no human being should see;
for people seized by terror
no human being should experience;
for people whose depths of suffering
no human being should know.
God of unquenchable hope,
Confirm our belief that this is not how things should be;
Affirm our belief that things can and will be different;
Strengthen our belief in Jesus
who opens the way from death to resurrection,
and help us, as his disciples,
to be your agents for change in our broken world. Amen
(From the Methodist Circuit newsletter)
Reflection from 12 November
Reading – Mark 1:14-20
Peace Babies and Jesus
So I’m hoping when you all came in this morning, you were given a piece of kitchen roll with a jelly baby on it and a white poppy. Does anybody know the history of the Jelly Babies? They were produced before the First World War and were called Peace Babies. After the First World War, each colour of the Jelly Babies represented a colour or that was in one of the flags of the people that fought in the First World War. Their introduction marked a new beginning because they were babies and they showed that life was returning to normal and could be fun again because they are jelly sweets. When the Second World War started production of the Peace Babies was stopped because they weren’t essential items.
After the war, a man, who was a Christian, decided to buy the factory where Peace Babies were made, and they are now made by Maynard Bassetts. Over time, they developed and symbols started to appear on each individual Jelly Baby. The green one is called Boofuls and this Jelly Baby’s got his hand up to his eyes like that, like he’s crying. And we can use these Jelly Babies as symbols of our journey with God. The one where the baby’s crying, the green one represents God’s sadness that people don’t always see just who God is. The black/purple one has a heart on it and is called, quite simply, Bigheart. He’s got a heart as big as God’s, a heart that forgives us when we don’t always do what we are supposed to do.
The pink one is Baby Bonny and has a hat on like a baby bonnet. This represents the fact that we are all children of God. Yellow is called Bubbles and has a necklace around its neck. And the Christian thing we can remember about the yellow Jelly Baby is it represents the treasures and riches that Jesus bestows on us. Orange is Bumper and has a bum bag. That reminds us that we have to be prepared for our Christian journey and to walk alongside with Jesus. And finally, the red one with the big B is Brilliant, the leader of the gang of the Jelly Babies. But the B and the red represents the blood of Christ; that blood that Jesus shed for us to show us just how much he loved us.
A gang of Peace Babies. Peace is enjoyed when people of different ages, interests and appearances live together in harmony. Just how boring would a bag of Jelly Babies be if the sweets were all one colour and one flavour? And that reminds us that actually, like the people who went to war, we are all unique and we are all special. Being different from other people makes our world and our communities special, but real peace is a peace that respects our differences. Peace in our homes and communities is built on respect and care for each other. Even though we are different.
Cost, call and commitment
Today’s gospel reading is from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. And today, I would like us to think about three things that this passage touches on. They are call, cost, and commitment. Jesus has been spending some time alone in the desert as he prepares for his earthly ministry. And when he leaves, what does he do? The first thing he does is he goes into the area of Galilee. Jesus’s first call is one of proclamation. It’s a call for all who hear him. It’s a call of good news. The Kingdom of God has come near. Jesus calls people to turn around from the ways that they had been living and to believe in the good news that he brings.
Now I think a call is a really powerful thing. Have you ever been walking down the street and you’ve heard somebody call your name? Or if you’re a parent, you’ll hear somebody go, mum, dad, or whatever it is. And what do you do? You stop and you turn round to see who it was that was calling you, and if it is somebody shouting mum or dad, then it’s not necessarily one of your children. I’ve done it many times.
A call is a really powerful thing. We see the power of a call a little later in the passage when Jesus calls Simon and Andrew, James and John to be his disciples. Now remember, these men are busy fishermen going about their daily work. When Jesus arrives and calls to them to leave and follow him, Mark tells us that they immediately stopped what they were doing and followed him. It’s a fascinating account, which may be a little implausible. But if we consider the call to arms that the UK Government issued at the beginning of the First World War, we know from history that in the first two months following this call half a million men literally stopped what they were doing and signed up to join the armed forces.
I love genealogy programmes, absolutely love them. There’s ‘DNA Secrets’ and there’s one that’s been very popular for many years, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ where people follow their family tree back. They are really, really blessed because they have all sorts of researchers doing all the research for them. But if you’ve ever tried to do your own family tree, then you’ll know how absolutely fascinating it is. Many years ago, an account from one of these programmes was David Walliams, the comedian and author, and he was looking at his family history. He found out that his great-grandfather was John George Bowman and was shown a picture of his great-grandfather standing proudly in his new uniform just after having signed up. Here in this photograph was a young man. He was a husband and a father with his whole life ahead of him. He answered that call to join up and his life and that of his family was about to change forever.
Whilst there’s a sense of romanticism about the disciples dropping their nets and following Jesus, we can’t forget that there was also a cost. The four disciples mentioned in our reading were clearly busy fishermen, and we also know that at least one of them, Peter, was also a married man. With these four key workers just getting up and leaving, how were their small family fishing businesses going to cope in the future? The wider family would have certainly been dependent upon their efforts and to survive there would have had to be changes to the business and family life. This was no small cost.
John George Bowman’s military record told us that he experienced some of the fiercest fighting during the war. He, of course, wasn’t unique, but this experience impacted him significantly and as a result he was diagnosed with shell shock, what we would now call PTSD. Many, of course, were killed. John may have seemed to be one of the lucky ones in that he survived the war, but because of his condition, he spent the majority of his remaining life in an asylum. The cost in this instance alone was that his three children grew up without ever knowing their father.
Today, as we remember the wars, we remember the cost of human life. In World War One, around 20 million people, civilians as well as military, lost their lives. In addition, around 20 million people were injured. In the Second World War, around a further 56 million deaths were caused by war. But what about the other costs, such as devastation caused to the environment and to the animals, both domestic and wild? What about the cost on families, family life, children growing up without one or more parents? We see that today in the war in Israel, Palestine and I’m sure you can think of many others. Whilst we may find this shocking, we also remember that this war continues to impact and affect the human race today.
In hindsight, the commitment of the disciples towards spreading the good news about Jesus is without question. During their shared life with Jesus and into their own ministries, they must have experienced many hardships. They no longer have the security of a place they could call home. They were imprisoned, beaten, and most were killed for their faith. So as we remember these sacred stories, we also remember today the commitment of all those people, women and men who risked their lives, who sacrificed their lives in the wars. They were our ancestors, our family members, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins and of course, friends. We remember them and we give thanks for their sacrifice that today we can live in a peaceful country.
But we also remember the ultimate sacrifice that had been made for each one of us by Jesus. Jesus said greater love has no one than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. It’s important to remember exactly what Christ did for us. Throughout the Bible, God’s people are called to stop and remember what God has done for us. Jesus paid the costly price. Jesus died for everybody who puts their trust in him. No greater than love than this can be shown to us. In a way, Jesus expects us to die for him if we are his friends, not an actual physical death. But by putting to death the things we do wrong and trying to follow his path. Maybe the Jelly Babies can help you remember that path.
On this Remembrance Sunday, let us remember our calling. Let’s remember the cost of what Jesus did for us as we remember the commitments that have been made on our behalf, and let each one of us commit together to strive to shape our world today, so that we and everyone else can live in peace and freedom. We don’t celebrate war, but we rather reflect on the courage of many, and perhaps, above all, the terrible losses. No one really wins a war. Everyone loses. Peace built on justice is our goal.
We pray for an end to all wars. We pray for peace. The areas of conflict in our world, we pray that everybody concerned will take the risks necessary to bring about that lasting peace. We pray for our own families, our communities, our town, our city, and our nation. Perhaps at this time for countries torn apart by strife, Israel, Gaza, Ukraine and so many other places that fail to make our news headlines. So next time you pick a Jelly Baby up, please don’t just bite its head off. Suck it slowly, and as you do so, pray for peace, for justice, and for hope in places of conflict, in our world, and so the world can flourish in the way that God intended.
Revd Julie King
Readings for 19 November
Matthew 25: 14-30
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Zephaniah 1: 7, 12-18
- Psalm 90: 1-8, 12
- 1 Thessalonians 5: 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 URC lay preacher, Lilian Evans. 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.
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)
10 December – Christ Church worship group – parade and gift service with scratch nativity
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 email@example.com 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
Thoughts from Howard
The parable of the man who fell victim to brigands on the Jericho road (Jesus never called it the Good Samaritan!) has many meanings. However, we must beware of looking at it through our eyes. What would have astonished those who heard was Jesus casting two men from the religious establishment in a bad light. We are used to the established Church and do not often seek to make it feel uncomfortable. Jesus of Nazareth was an outspoken critic of established religious behaviour. We must not overlook that. Perhaps we too need to make the religious establishment uncomfortable. Perhaps the parable should be called that of the falsely religious? Could that have been what Jesus meant?
Royal Mail Christmas Stamps
As the days shorten and Christmas approaches, the Royal Mail heralds the festive season with bright lights, glittering decorations and annual traditions like carolling – the heartwarming seasonal ritual with a rich history spanning hundreds of years.
They’re celebrating the nation’s best-loved carols with new stamps in an ode to a time-honoured practice that continues to spread love, joy and hope.
Dates for your diary
|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:
- Those involved in worship across the Circuit and Synod
- Our Lady of Lourdes & St Michael, Uxbridge
This earth, this good earth,
The sunlight, the moonlight,
The sky that reaches over us,
The soil beneath our feet.
We will hold all this in our hands with gentleness and love.
(Taken from Roots)