A person praying against a sunset sky

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)



Please note that there will be no newsletter next week due to the half-term break. The next issue of the newsletter will be on 23 February.


Opening Prayer

Source of creation and love,
move like air on the breeze within and amongst me today.
Tend in me a spark of curiosity for what is growing in the earth beneath my feet.
Stir in me a flicker of awe at the buds and shoots stretching steadily from oak, ash, rowan and beech.
Prune from me all that we no longer need to take with me as I journey further towards the season of blooming and growth.
Help me to see the ever-changing landscapes around me and the ever-changing landscapes within myself.
May I feel my place in the wonder of creation,
leaning into the coming days ahead,
and help others to find their place too.
(Taken from The Vine)


A person praying against a sunset sky








Reflection from 4 February

Readings – Isaiah 40: 21-31 and Mark 1: 29-39

This passage from Mark is a remarkable passage. It’s right at the start of Jesus’s ministry and he’s creating shockwaves across Galilee. Shockwaves. He’s just arrived on the scene and there are exorcisms and healing and prayer and mission all happening at once. There’s a sense of speed and immediacy. Just notice how the sentences start ‘as soon as’, ‘immediately’. That’s how Mark tells Jesus’s ministry. It’s good to read Mark quickly. It’s a short book, so you can read it like a page turner in about an hour, and there’s something to be said for doing that on occasions. There’s a breathless, excited sense in Mark of the healer, the preacher who rocks his world, who hurtles through the world that he finds on his way to the cross. So that’s one way to read it: as one fast narrative.


It’s also good to read slowly and carefully and reflect one by one on the individual stories that we find. And today’s reading is surprising, particularly for one thing, because there are three or four distinct stories in those ten verses. Different scenes, each with different moods and messages. They tell the story of the first 24 hours of Jesus’s teaching ministry and they follow on from Jesus performing teaching with authority and power in the synagogue at Capernaum and performing an exorcism there.


So I’m going to invite you to join me in reflecting on each element of that story, because today we’re not doing a speed reading contest. I’m indebted to John Pritchard, the former Bishop of Oxford for the thoughts in this wonderful book ‘Living Jesus’, which you may have come across. So as soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with the fever. They told Jesus about her, and at once he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her and she began to serve them.


So the first exorcism is followed by the first healing. She is raised up. And it’s the same word in the Greek being used as Paul uses in his account of Jesus’s resurrection. Put yourself in the shoes of the mother-in-law in this story. Her daughter’s married to Simon, but now Simon has left his wife and family behind and has started to follow this travelling preacher Jesus. Not only that, but her other son, Andrew, also a fisherman who’s been making a decent living. We assume he’s gone too, leaving their father, her husband, alone in his boat. And what’s he supposed to do next? So what has this man, Jesus gone and done to her family? And to make things worse, she’s fallen ill and taken to her bed.


But the man who’s captured her family comes to her bedside and takes her hand. And in a sense he captures her too. And now she serves Jesus and his disciples, including members of her own family, in just the same way as the angels served Jesus, when he faced temptation in the in the wilderness. The word in Greek is the same for both kinds of serving. And we remember that it would be the women who provided for him who follow Jesus to the cross. The women who minister at his burial and the women who visit the empty tomb.


So, on we go to the end of this extraordinary first day. It’s sunset. Jesus is healing many who are sick and casting out many demons. It’s a reminder that you can’t separate out the healing stories from the real life of Jesus. In Mark’s gospel nearly half the account of Jesus’s public life is concerned with miracles. So it seems it was completely inevitable that the life-giving love of Jesus would allow him to do utterly remarkable things.


So that evening at sunset, they brought Jesus all who were sick or possessed with demons. The whole city was gathered round the door, and he cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons. And he wouldn’t permit the demons to speak because they knew him. So from the privacy of that intimate family scene at the bedside in the house of Simon and Andrew, Jesus is now the centre of attention. He’s an instant celebrity. The healing man. He’s besieged by crowds, expected to perform any number of healing acts, continuous exorcisms. He’s crowded in on; he’s become a public spectacle. The Sabbath is over and burdens, including the sick, can be carried again and now they’re all here. For the poor in a dirty and sick world full of disease, mighty works of healing were the stuff of life.


And it becomes all too much. Remember, this is still the first day of Jesus’s ministry, and he pulls away from the crowd. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed and Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “everyone is searching for you.” So, picture Jesus seeking out and finding the world in this place. A lonely place where he can pray again to his Father. He finds peace and calm, quiet. But he can hear the searches being carried out and soon, all too soon, he hears the voices of Simon and the others. It feels like he’s being hunted. And at last, they find him, and almost in anger it seems, they tell him what they think of his hiding away from the fame that he’s just hit upon. Everyone is searching for you.


An image depicting Jesus praying alone in the mountains at sunrise.


Christians have been doing this since the earliest times. Finding a quiet place to be at the start of the day to pray. And we do the same as individuals or as a church. Praying before we take big decisions and I’m sure we will in a couple of weeks’ time when it’s the Congregational Annual Meeting here, needing to be full of God if we’re to be full of wisdom.


But what does Jesus do when faced with the demand to go back and work some more miracle cures when he pursues his own plan? He answers, “Let’s go on to the neighbouring town so that I may proclaim the message there also for that is what I came to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. So the healing and the exorcisms are important. They are life giving. But maybe they lack completeness in their meaning, if they’re not accompanied with the Word. Healing without the message is just healing. It is healing with the message that offers salvation and points to the Kingdom of God. Because proclamation of the Kingdom is the way in which the power of healing gains its true meaning.


Everything Jesus said and did was pointing to an alternative reality which he called the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is central to his life and thought. Jesus came not with a political manifesto. Not with a blueprint for the church. Not even a new ethical system. He came with a vision of the Kingdom, and he presented it as an alternative to the social and religious reality of the day. He announces a different order, a different value system, a different set of rewards. He offers a set of metaphors, images, stories to challenge his listeners at the deepest level of their imagination. More visions grow where dreams evolve and where courage becomes action. So, we’ve heard about four different scenes, four different moods, under these desert skies: of resurrection, of exorcism, of prayer and of preaching the Kingdom of God. So let’s end this reflection in prayer. Let’s pray:


Gracious God, as Jesus withdrew from the pressure of the crowds to renew his life in you, help us set aside our daily duties and pleasures to centre on you now. We come each one of us unique and known fully to you alone. Yet together with our sisters and brothers here, with Christian people throughout the world, with all those who live in you forever. In stillness, we wait upon you. Stillness of body. Stillness of mind. Stillness of soul. The stillness of your presence. Amen.

Peter Knowles





Readings for 11 February

Mark 9: 2-9

The Transfiguration

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.


A painting depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus with Elijah and Moses depicted either side of Jesus and James, John and Peter on the mountain below.


Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)


Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”


Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.


As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • 2 Kings 2: 1-12
  • Psalm 50: 1-6
  • 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6





Readings for 18 February

Mark 1: 9-15

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”


12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.


Jesus Announces the Good News
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Genesis 9: 8-17
  • Psalm 25: 1-10
  • 1 Peter 3: 18-22





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 parade service and will be led by Christ Church member, Joanne Mackin. 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

11 February – Christ Church worship group – parade service

18 February – Richard Reid (Methodist local preacher)

25 February – Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch (URC minister) – Holy Communion

3 March – Joanne Davies (Methodist local preacher)




A cartoon depicting grey-haired woman knocking on a wooden door with a sign that reads "Knock and the door shall be opened unto you (during business hours only)."
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc – www.reverendfun.com)

World Day of Prayer

Friday 1 March, 2pm at St Margaret’s Church

This year’s World Day of Prayer service will be held on Friday 1 March at 2pm at St Margaret’s Church, Windsor Street, Uxbridge. The service this year has been put together by Christian women in Palestine and the theme is ‘I beg you, bear with one another in love’.



A slide showing a picture of three women in green under an olive tree with the words "World Day of Prayer. 'I beg you, bear with one another in love'. Palestine. Friday 1 March at 2pm, St Margaret's Church, Windsor Street, Uxbridge All welcome."




Dates for your diary

18 February Annual Congregational Meeting
21 February Welcome Wednesdays
1 March World Day of Prayer
6 March Welcome Wednesdays
20 March Welcome Wednesdays
3 April Welcome Wednesdays
17 April Welcome Wednesdays
19 May Congregational Meeting
8 September Congregational Meeting
24 November Congregational Meeting



Children’s Corner


A puzzle with a sequence of images to solve
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2024. Reproduced with permission.)



Praying for other churches

w/c 9 February

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Eastcote Methodist
  • St Andrew’s URC, Gerrards Cross
  • St Andrew’s, Uxbridge



w/c 16 February

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Cannon Lane Methodist
  • Acton Hill (URC/Methodist)
  • Our Lady of Lourdes & St Michael, Uxbridge


Closing prayer

Go out from this place,
inspired and uplifted to bring about change in the world.
Go out into the world,
amongst all the disheartening and disappointing moments of life,
and know that the God of love goes with you,
before you, alongside you and within you.
Go to be a person of love, grace and peace.
(Taken from The Vine)






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‘Look-In’ – 9 February 2024
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