Mountain stream and the high peaks of the Austrian Alps

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 with 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 (


Opening Prayer

Lead us, Lord, to the good green grass and the life-giving water.
Lead us, Lord, to the promises of your word.
Lead us, Lord, to the gathering of your people.
Lead us, Lord, to your kingdom of joy.
(Taken from Roots)



Mountain stream and the high peaks of the Austrian Alps








Reflection from 30 June

Readings – Lamentations 3: 21-33 and Mark 5: 21-43


The healing of the woman in the crowd is quite a remarkable story. There’s so much going on, especially when one begins to look below the surface. This story has become an important one for feminist theologians. Why is it so important? Taken at its most basic, a woman who has been ill for years hides in the crowd and touches Jesus’s clothes as he goes by because she’s got faith in his ability to heal her. Sure enough she’s made well and Jesus, aware of what has happened, declares that it’s her faith that has made her whole, so the basic moral of the story could be that if we have sufficient faith in Jesus then we’ll be healed. End of story, end of sermon.


It’s a simple message and it’s a message which sells, but can we really believe that those whom we’ve lost over the last few months and years died because they didn’t have enough faith to be healed? Of course we can’t, but sadly that’s what’s some would have us believe.


Mark only gives us the bare bones of the story. In order to hear the full story, you need to dig a little bit deeper and that’s where things can become a little bit uncomfortable. Let’s put this poor woman into her social context. In Jesus’s time a woman’s place in society was defined in terms of her relationships with and to men. In the passage our story is interwoven with the story of Jairus’s daughter who also has no name. She isn’t Ruth or Mary, a person in her own right, but she’s known as Jairus’s daughter. Her position in society is defined in terms of her relationship to a man, in this case her father, but our poor woman is neither a name nor is she described in terms of a relationship with a man, so to all intents and purposes she’s invisible.


Whilst it may be acceptable to define a character in a western as ‘the man with no name’ I want to give our lady a name because she was a person known to God. She had a name and if society couldn’t handle that, then it was their loss. I’m going to call her Beth. We know from the story that Beth was once a wealthy woman so she must have had some status in society, but now she’s poor. Where did the money go? With no NHS to take care of her, it’s gone on doctors and on pills and potions to try and cure her bleeding. Did any of these cures make her any better? The answer quite clearly was no. If anything, they’ve made her worse. She could have gone from being a fit and healthy woman to someone who was always tired – a sign of anaemia; she may well have lost weight and she would probably have been in pain. Now I can only imagine what she had been feeling like but I guess that some of you may have actually been there and know first-hand how she might have felt.


So here is Beth. No man around to give a status, made poor by the doctor’s bills, feeling constantly tired, but her troubles don’t end there for the nature of her condition makes her ritually unclean, so not only is she cut off from polite society, but she’s also cut off from God. She can’t go to the synagogue to worship and offer the sacrifices according to her faith, and worse still, if she touches anyone she makes him or her unclean as well and they have to go through a right of purification before they can worship God. She doesn’t even have to be there to make someone unclean. All they have to do is to sleep on the same bed that she uses or sit in her chair. Now it all seems very unfair to us today, but that was, and in some Orthodox Jewish circles still is, the law. Beth, alone in the crowd, is risking exposure as a polluter of men. She’s cut off from God and for society. Her choices are incredibly limited. To all intents and purposes she’s just as dead as Jairus’s daughter, except that hers was a living death.


Desperate people take desperate measures and Beth was about to do something so audacious that I doubt even she could really understand it: from the obscurity of the crowd she was about to touch Jesus. She was about to break all of the rules, but then she had nothing to lose, had she? The worst that could happen was that nothing would happen and if the crowd reacted badly and killed her, well that would be an ending of sorts. So Beth reaches out and touches Jesus. She had to have faith and she felt his power running through her veins. Her bleeding stopped and Beth was made whole.


An illustration depicting a woman kneeling and touching Jesus's cloak as he walks through a crowd


Jesus didn’t so much feel a touch as a sense of the power leaving him. He wanted to know what was going on, he wanted to meet Beth who was now strangely reluctant to come forward.  Why is Beth so reluctant? Is it because now that she’s healed she’s no longer an outcast and she’s back in the real world? Beth has now got to obey the rules and her moment of liberation is over. Or is it? Jesus calls her ‘daughter’. In a male-dominated world, Beth now has a relationship with a man, but her relationship isn’t just with any man, it’s a personal relationship with the Son of God, who in healing her has changed her from an outcast into a beloved child of God.


When Jesus raises Jairus’s daughter he does exactly the same thing. He calls her daughter as well, redefining her relationship to the world unto God. Like us who have faith she’s also become a child of God. She’s no longer just her father’s daughter but is a part of God’s kingdom, God’s new creation.


Bless you Beth for all your faith, bless you for showing us that no matter how far we feel that we are from God there’s a way back if we have faith. ‘That’s all very well,’ I hear you cry, ‘but I have faith and I still suffer from…’ and you can insert whatever illness you may be suffering from. Why is it, we ask, that if God loves us, good people suffer and bad people appear to get away with things? There never are and there never were any easy answers to those kind of questions and indeed I’d be deeply suspicious of anyone who suggested that there were.


When God created the world it was perfect and without sin, but sin entered the world through humanity’s disobedience, and with sin came illness and death. Science tells us much about illness and the mechanisms involved in life. We can see the very building blocks that make us what we are, which will I hope lead to many new developments in the treatment of diseases, but it doesn’t change the fact that our bodies are programmed to live for so many years and no longer and each time a cell divides the potential is there for an accident to happen and sometimes that accident will over time go on to produce a whole new species and at other times it’ll cause cancer.


We don’t know what the outcome will be. Every moment is full of new possibilities that’s what makes the miracle of life so wonderful, gives evolution its drive. We treat more diseases now than we could ever do before and one or two we’ve almost completely eradicated. We can even appear to raise the dead, but some things we can’t cure and the best that we can do is to try and make people as comfortable as possible, but that’s not the case throughout the world. People do still suffer unnecessarily because the resources that we have aren’t used fairly and the provision of healthcare is poor. That’s the reality of life and an imperfect and sinful world that goes way beyond rationing by postcode but at two o’clock in the morning when you can’t get to sleep because of the pain and the fear, or when you’re waiting by the bedside of a loved one, not knowing whether they’ll live or die, or when you watch a loved one drift away from you into a strange world where you cannot go, reality hurts and we can feel lost; as lost and alone as Beth.


Like her, we can turn to the Bible and to God, for the Bible is full of tales of God’s compassion and kindness. Listen again to those words from the book of Lamentations, written when the Jews were in exile:


“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. The Lord will not reject forever. Although he causes grief, he’ll have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love, for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.”


When Paul was given a thorn in his flesh, he called three times on God to remove it, and God replied each time that his grace, his love, his care, his support, his compassion were sufficient for Paul. In sickness and in health, God’s love surrounds us. Unlike Beth we should never feel that we are alone, because God’s spirit is there with us always even in our agony and though we turn away from God, the time will come when God in Jesus will reach out his hand to us and we will be healed.


Beautiful bright rainbow on the background of a stormy blue sky through a window glass with rain drops


There will come a time when we will be able to trace the rainbow through the rain and know that morn shall tearless be, but we may have to pass through death to experience it, and we have God’s promise, don’t we, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth; a time when there will no longer be sickness or death; a time when we will all be healed and God’s grace in love will be revealed. This is our hope and our message, and this becomes a place where people can reach out from their exclusion, touch the hem of Jesus’s garment and know that they are loved, that they are a child of God, and find the courage to change what can be changed, the strength to endure what cannot be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
Revd John Mackerness






Readings for 7 July

Mark 6: 1-13

A Prophet Without Honour
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.


“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.


Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.



Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.


Two disciples walking along a desert road


These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”


12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.



Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Ezekiel 2: 1-5
  • Psalm 123
  • 2 Corinthians 12: 2-10




Our worship

We meet at 11am for our Sunday services, which are also live-streamed on our YouTube channel. If you wish to view our services online, you can find them at


You can also view a recent service on our church website. Our service this week will be led by Neil Mackin, Christ Church member and trainee URC lay preacher. 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

7 July – Neil Mackin (Christ Church member and trainee URC lay preacher)

14 July – Christ Church worship group – parade service and service of thanksgiving to mark Stephanie Marr’s retirement as Girls’ Brigade Captain

21 July – Catherine Wells (Methodist local preacher)

28 July – Revd Margaret Dudley (Methodist minister) – Holy Communion





News from BB and GB

Annual Display – Friday 5th July

1st Uxbridge BB and GB invite you to their Annual Display to be held on Friday 5th July from 7pm to about 8.30pm in Christ Church Halls.  The evening will include items from each of our Sections and also some joint items.  This is an evening when we can celebrate the talent we have in our BB and GB Companies and, hopefully, have a bit of fun too!  Please come along if you can.



Awards Evening – Friday 12th July

Our Awards Evening will be held in Christ Church from 6.30pm until 8pm.  During the evening the Boys and Girls will receive the badges they have earned during the year and special awards for this year will also be presented.  If you would like to come and join in the congratulations to our youngsters, you would be very welcome.


The front of the chapel with tables set up with trophies. The Girls' Brigade and Boys' Brigade logos are draped in the front of the tables and the BB/GB colours are behind the tables.



A cartoon showing two boys playing in sandpits - one filled with sand, the other filled with rocks. The caption reads "The foolish man had troubles later in life but he had his wins as a child."
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc –




From the Circuit

Farewell to Revd Nigel Cowgill

Nigel’s time as a Chair of the District is coming to an end in August. To thank him for all his work and service to the London District and wider church the District is holding a Farewell Service on Sunday 21 July at Hinde Street Methodist Church, W1U 2QJ. The afternoon will start with refreshments from 5:30pm, followed by a service at 6:30pm. If you would like to attend, please register at






The Dragon & The Virgin: Religion in Uxbridge book launch

St Margaret’s Church
Saturday 20th July, 4pm til 5pm

Published by Britain’s fastest growing producer of local history books, this book covers the sweep of religious history in Uxbridge. While primarily focused on the parish church of St Margaret, we are introduced to St Andrew’s church, the Roman Catholic community and the non-conformist movements which emerged in Uxbridge. The next chapter to emerge in the history of Uxbridge will be the growing diversity of faith communities in the Hillingdon Borough.


The front cover of the book "The Dragon and The Virgin: Religion in Uxbridge" by Andrew Thompson showing a stained glass window with a cross and a dove below it.


Speakers include Fr Nicholas Schofield, Uxbridge historian Ken Pearce and author of The Dragon and the Virgin Reverend Andy Thompson.


Copies of the book will be available at a discounted price and there will be book signing by the author.


Tea and cakes provided.




Children’s Corner


A maze puzzle
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2024. Reproduced with permission.)


Dates for your diary


10 July Welcome Wednesday
24 July Welcome Wednesday
4 September Welcome Wednesday
8 September Congregational Meeting
18 September Welcome Wednesday
24 November Congregational Meeting





Praying for other churches

This week we hold all those involved in safeguarding in our churches in our prayers.





Closing prayer

Lead us, Lord, when we lose sight of you.
Lead us, good Lord, through darkness to your light.
Lead us through disappointment and failure
to a place of new calling.
Lead us though we often struggle
and sometimes do not listen to your voice.
Lead us, good Lord, deeper into your love for us.
(Taken from Roots)









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‘Look-In’ – 5 July 2024
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