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)
we come before you as we are,
each one of us a unique individual.
We ask you to mould us into your image,
and help us to be ‘good sheep’, your sheep.
We ask this of you, our Lord and shepherd. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Prayer for Israel and Palestine
Loving God, I see the news and I am afraid.
Violence is spiralling out of control.
I don’t know what to think or feel.
The temptation to fall into hatred,
or despair feels very close at hand.
Help me to remember that nothing in all creation
can separate me from your love that I know in Jesus.
May your perfect love for me cast out my fear
and free me to discern what is mine to do
amidst the chaos of this suffering world. Amen
(From the Methodist Circuit newsletter)
Reflection from 19 November
Readings – Matthew 25: 14-30 and Judges 4: 1-7
This story that Jesus tells is sometimes described the story of the talents and in this version we’ve just read it was a bag of gold. Now these bags of gold were quite heavy because one talent was deemed to be a year’s wages for a labourer. One of my jobs at the end of the day is to count up the money left in the till so we can bank it. And you’ll be surprised how heavy a bag of coins can be. But when you have a bag of coins that has got all the money that you would earn in a year, you’re not going to move it very easily are you?
Here we have five bags given to this one man. What’s he going to do with it? He invests it, he trades with it, somehow or other in the time that his master is away, he doubles his money. Please tell me which bank he went to, what he bought and how I can do the same! It’s hard work doing that. You have to know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you can make a loss.
And then there was a second man, he only got two bags of money. Two years wages. That’s still a lot of pound coins if you’ve got to carry them down the bank. And then there’s the third servant. Did the master expect any return from this servant, do you think? Is that the reason he only got one bag full? And so the master goes away and does his own thing and eventually comes back.
The people who have been given such a huge amount of money, found ways of making more. Have you seen that? People with lots of money sometimes, they have the ability to attract more money and so they do. Five became ten, two became four. One… well, it stayed one. The reason he didn’t do anything with that money is because he was afraid of it. He buries it. He was not sure how much he could do with his one talent. It was a lot of money, but he knew his fellow workers had been given much more. Perhaps his confidence was shaken? He doesn’t even want the responsibility of transporting the money to the bank. It might get lost on the way or taken by thieves. So he buries it, making sure he knows where.
The master comes back and is very pleased with the 100% profit from two of his servants. But then the last one made no attempt at making a profit. He just put it in the ground. Now I know that money doesn’t grow on trees but it certainly doesn’t grow out of the ground, unless you’re farming or producing crops to sell – well he could have done that with the money.
Now have you seen your bank account lately? The interest on mine seems to be very, very small – something like 0.1%. It’s less than it used to be. Perhaps I should consult with one of the two people who managed to double their money! But then I know I’ve been given other gifts, other talents which I am starting to use more often. Lately I’ve joined the local choir, which is the famous one – the South Oxhey choir which Gareth Malone started 15 years ago. It’s on the estate and the only conditions are that you have to live on the estate or work on the estate.
And I’ve met some amazing people. Some of the people who are there actually joined 15 years ago. They’re still going, they’re really enjoying it, they’ve made lots of friends. As I go I find that I’m improving my singing. I’m learning to breathe again. When you’re singing you need to breathe properly in order to have enough air to be able to produce a note. Especially if it’s a nice long one.
God has given me a chance to be with people who enjoy singing. Now it’s not a church choir, but in the course of the last few months we’ve learned a Hebrew song. we’ve been doing the Skye Boat song with some Christian words, we’ve just started doing some Christmas songs because we’re doing a concert in a few weeks’ time. And it’s using these talents and gifts.
Here we have in the Old Testament a lady called Deborah. In recent years it’s become much more common for women to be in leadership roles within the church. When I was doing my initial training for being a lay picture the number of men and women on the course was about level. We were being equipped to look out for what was being said in the passages set for each day. We were given passages to look at and we were encouraged, especially if you were doing services in a different church every week, to follow the lectionary, which is a set of readings for each week. You don’t get the same thing twice. Sometimes the readings lead directly on from one to the next.
For those who have got a strong stomach and curiosity, please read to the end of the chapter in Judges 4. It’s very interesting how the women have the upper hand. In chapter 5 is a song that Deborah writes about this story. Sometimes singing something makes it easier to remember. This song is to remember a lady called Jael. She is the author of the victory over the enemy. And the last line in chapter 5 says the land has rest for 40 years. Because of what had happened, they had peace in the land for 40 years, which is quite a long time in Israel’s history.
There weren’t 40 years between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War. It was less than that. And in all the time since then, every time you listen to the news, watch the television, you will see more stories of places at war. Last week I was looking up where there are places of ongoing conflict for Remembrance Sunday, when sometimes we remember those who are still in places where there are ongoing conflicts. There are over 30 countries that are currently suffering from war, fighting, and that sort of thing going on even now.
We need to tell the story of Jesus, to tell of his love for us. To look back, right to the very beginning of the Bible, where God says in the beginning, “I love these people. They will be my people.” And to look forward into the future. Next week is the Feast of Christ the King, where we celebrate the fact that Jesus is coming again. We tell the story so that we remember it.
Readings for 26 November
Matthew 25: 31-46
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Ezekiel 34: 11-15, 20-24
- Psalm 95: 1-7a
- Ephesians 1: 15-23
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 communion service with a baptism and will be led by URC minister, Revd Jon Dean. 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.
26 November – Revd Jon Dean (URC minister) – Holy Communion with baptism
3 December – Richard Reid (Methodist local preacher) (1st Sunday in Advent)
10 December – Christ Church worship group – parade and gift service with scratch nativity
17 December – Christ Church worship group – carol service
Church charity news
Our silent auction has now ended and all the winners of items have been contacted. Thank you to everyone who participated in this and helped us raise £115 for Communicare Counselling Service.
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.
Christmas at Christ Church
Sunday 10 December, 11am – Parade and gift service with scratch nativity
Join us for our annual gift service. This year we are joining in with Trinity’s gift appeal and there will be Christmas tree tags available shortly with gift requests.
Friday 15 December, 12noon – Carols and mince pies
Join us for a carol service in the chapel followed by mince pies. All are welcome.
Sunday 17 December, 11am – Carol service
This year’s carol service will be a ‘Songs of Praise’ style carol service and we are inviting nominations for carols to include. If you would like to nominate a carol, please contact Joanne Mackin by email on email@example.com or leave a message via the church office by 1 December.
Sunday 24 December, 11am – Christmas Eve service
Our Christmas Eve service will be led by URC minister, Revd Maggie Hindley. All are welcome.
Monday 25 December, 10.30am – Christmas Day service
Our Christmas Day service will be led by Christ Church member, Neil Mackin. All are welcome.
Become a Secret Santa for Action for Children
Across the UK many families are getting excited about celebrating Christmas. It’s a time for children to make precious memories. For them to feel happiness and love. For vulnerable children across the UK, Christmas is anything but magical. No stockings. No presents. No festive food – maybe no food at all.
Could you help change that? By donating to Action for Children and becoming a Secret Santa, you could give a vulnerable child the essentials of warm clothes, a hot meal, or a special present just for them.
If you would like to be a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child, please visit iamsanta.org.uk to choose a gift or make a quick donation.
Voices in Accord – Christmas Time is Here
Saturday 9th December, 2.45pm, North Hillingdon Methodist Church
An afternoon of festive songs and carols from Voices in Accord, conducted by Alison Elcoat. No tickets required, everyone is welcome, but there will be a retiring collection in aid of the charity Save the Children, who work to help children in need all across the globe.
From the Circuit
Festive Fun at Hayes End
Hayes End Methodist Church on Uxbridge Road is hosting Festive Fun on the afternoon of Saturday 2 December. Opening at 2.00pm, it finishes with Glori Kitchen, which serves free healthy, wholesome and nutrutious hot food to the local community from 5.00pm. Entrance is free with bouncy castles, Christmas crafts and the chance to take your photo in the stable. There is a £1 charge to visit Father Christmas. Come with your friends and have some fun!
Dates for your diary
|CTU Christmas carols
|Congregational meeting with bring and share lunch
|Carols and mince pies
|Christmas morning worship
Praying for other churches
This week we hold Trinity Church Harrow (URC and Methodist) in our prayers.
help us to be ‘doing’ people and not always ‘thinking about it’;
help us to be ‘sharing’ people and not hoarders or hiders;
help us to be people who know we are blessed in abundance
by you and, through the power of the Spirit, are eager to pass those blessings on.
We ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)