31st May 2020

(Note: the newsletter can also be downloaded as a PDF.)

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 31st May 2020


The order of service for our streamed Communion during the Easter Season is available as a PDF booklet (please ask for a hard copy) and on the Christ Church website http://christchurchlancaster.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Livestream-Communion.pdf

Revd Carol’s streaming of the Eucharist is available from 10:30 am on Sunday and at any time thereafter on the Christ Church YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPoAvGj4K9085RV8zo0ZS9Q

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Acts 2.1-13

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’
But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm 104.26-36,37b*

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

26  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

27  There is the sea, spread far and wide, and there move creatures beyond number, both small and great.

28  There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan which you have made to play in the deep.

29  All of these look to you to give them their food in due season.

30  When you give it them, they gather it; you open your hand and they are filled with good.

31  When you hide your face they are troubled; when you take away their breath, they die and return again to the dust.

32  When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

33  May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in his works;

34  He looks on the earth and it trembles; he touches the mountains and they smoke.

35  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will make music to my God while I have my being.

36  So shall my song please him while I rejoice in the Lord.

37b Bless the Lord, O my soul. Alleluia.

 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

1 Corinthians 12.3b-13

Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John (John 7.37-39) Glory to you, O Lord.

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ

Reflection (also available to listen to on the website)

 I grew up in East London, which often meant that I was the ethnic minority in my class at school. If you went out, you’d hear Urdu, Arabic, Gudjerati, Greek, Polish, Tamil, Croatian, Yiddish, French and many other languages spoken, not to mention several accents and dialects of English. Being surrounded by many different sounds, I was always amazed at just how rich and diverse human communication can be. And, I must admit, very envious of people who were fluent in multiple languages and alphabets!

Today, we heard again the story of how the disciples found themselves suddenly speaking to people whom they’d never met, in languages they’d never before been able to understand. It was like the reversing of the Tower of Babel – where once people had been scattered by barriers of language and understanding, now were united in hearing about Jesus.

As Saint Luke writes his account of the coming of the Holy Spirit, he’s almost breathless with all the details. He’s telling people how important this day was, what a big change happened in his life, and in all the disciples. But Luke is also linking this experience to an older story.

Fifty days after the Israelites had escaped from Egypt, Moses left them and went up a mountain. He was surrounded by wind and fire, until God’s voice spoke, and gave him the Ten Commandments as a sign of the promise God made. As the people walked across the wilderness, they learnt a new way to live together and worship.

And fifty days after the resurrection, Jesus too had gone up a mountain, and ascended into heaven whilst the disciples looked on. The Holy Spirit came, in wind and fire, with a new way of living – where all people would be called God’s people, living not just by the laws and Commandments, but by faith and the guidance of the Spirit.

St Paul’s insight, in his letter to the Corinthians, is that the Holy Spirit doesn’t just give the gift of speaking many languages. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, prophecy, discernment –  all are given and guided by the Spirit.  In different measures, they cause us to live life a little differently, to speak a little more of God’s words, wiser, healed, more aware, more faithful…

Last week, Pat asked us to consider that waiting for Pentecost is like waiting for the new normal – and encouraged us to see that life after lockdown can be different, can be brought closer to God’s purposes of justice, hope, healing and peace for all.

It has certainly been a fiery and tumultuous week, not least when our bishops have received death threats for challenging the behaviour of those in power. The language has been angry and frustrated, spilling out and collectively raising blood pressures. But there are signs of hope, not least here in Lancaster as our own political leaders begin to plan for life after the pandemic, putting the climate crisis, and community building at the heart of where next.

So what does Pentecost mean for us today? It comes back to the Holy Spirit’s gift of languages. I don’t mean the ability to speak six languages – although lockdown may have given ample opportunity to learn something new!

Rather, as we step out into a new way of living, as Christ’s disciples into a strange and unfamiliar world, we can pray for the Holy Spirit’s gifts, to speak words of kindness and hope, to be the wise, discerning voices in the room, to make room for healing and peace to dwell, to persistently cry for justice on behalf of those who have no voice. To have faith that God walks beside us, blessing and sharing life and love.

The Gospel promise is that these words, this language of the Holy Spirit, will be living water for all God’s people. Amen.

Prayers for the week:

In union with Christ and in the power of the Spirit, let us pray to the Father:

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit on each of us, and so set our hearts on fire with love for you that we pour out that love in service of you and all your children.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Loving Father, on the church’s birthday, fill your church throughout the world with your Holy Spirit  Bless our Bishops Julian, Philip and Jill, and Revd Carol and Pat, and all who serve you in this community.  Give us all grace to use the fruits of your Spirit and the diversity of gifts you have given each of us uniquely, to grow your Kingdom and build our community in our parish and city.  Show us your will, and give us grace to follow it.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

In our parish cycle of prayer, we pray for those who live and work in Tarbet Street and Ayr Street. 

We also pray for the work of the Royal Infirmary, all the staff, patients and their families.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Almighty Father, bring the peace, justice and wisdom of your Spirit to the decision-making of the world’s leaders. We pray for an end to the violence in Mozambique, Nigeria, Hong Kong and the United States, and for the swift restoration of homes and businesses in Bangladesh and West Bengal after Cyclone Amphan.  Give strength and courage to all working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to rebuild livelihoods and economies.  Send your protection all refugees in camps and on the move,  as they try to find safety and security.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Creator Father, give us grace to steward your creation wisely, and to use its resources carefully and fairly, for the good of the poorest and for future generations.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Nurturing Father, send your Comforter to be with all who are in any kind of distress at this time.  Strengthen and reassure those who are sick in mind, body or spirit, those who are worried about feeding their families, or feeling the pressures of lockdown.  We bring before you especially: Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Pat Brooks, Bill and Ivy Buckley, Michael Greenhalgh, Angie Topham, Richard Impey, Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Stephen Gardner, Eddie Barandino and those known to us to be in need of your healing Spirit.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Immortal Father,  we pray for the souls of all who have died recently, remembering especially Norman Trewhitt, and young Arnold (AJ) Reyes.  May they rest in your eternal peace.

Send your Spirit to comfort those who mourn the loss of loved ones, especially Norman’s family, and Anna and her family.  May they know your presence.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Therefore, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Elizabeth, and all our saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father,accept our prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Spiritual Communion

For many of us, receiving bread and wine at the Eucharist is the foundation of our Sunday service, and the way we know Christ’s loving, sustaining presence in our lives, and specially at the big feasts of Easter and Christmas. From ancient times, the Church has held a service called ‘Spiritual Communion’ especially for those who could not receive the bread and wine of communion, for example when illness prevented it. Spiritual Communion has much in common with a Eucharist – we ask God for His help and forgiveness, we pray for ourselves and for the world, and we ask Christ to bring us closer to the community of love that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the assurance that however ill or isolated we might be, Christ is there beside us, and we are part of His church family because of His grace and love, until the time comes when we can receive communion once again. As I pray the Eucharist each Sunday on behalf of the parish; thanking God for His many blessings and asking for His protection and care – you may wish to follow the Spiritual Communion service at home, using the day’s readings, prayers and sermon.

Collect (Prayer for the week)

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, ignite in us your holy fire: strengthen your children with the gift of faith, revive your Church with the breath of love,

and renew the face of the earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Post Communion Prayer

Faithful God, who fulfilled the promises of Easter by sending us your Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal:  open our lips by your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. All Amen.

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

*Recorded by the Virtual Christ Church Choir (Rev Carol, Pat, Jacqueline, Jean and Andrew McCafferty – to whom special thanks for accompanying, singing, and mixing the recordings to produce the YouTube video).

The national prayer for the pandemic

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy.

Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen

Pentecost Live – 31st May

This afternoon, from 1.30pm – 4.30pm there had been plans for a Lancaster Churches Together Pentecost Picnic in the Park. It’s still happening – now online via Facebook live! Bring a picnic and share in prayer, worship and live music from the comfort of your own sofa. Look up Lancaster Churches Together, there’s a link on our own Facebook page, and see the flyer sent separately.   Our own Bishop Jill will be speaking at 4.30pm.

Help, Prayer and Support:

If you need a hand with shopping, medicines collection etc in coming weeks, or would like a friendly phone call, or if you are able to help others in the parish out, please contact help@christchurchlancaster.org.uk or call/text 07539 583638 and leave a message, or contact us via our Facebook page.

We will be praying daily for all who are suffering in the current crisis. If you would like us to pray for you, or for someone you know, for any reason, please email your request to prayer@christchurchlancaster.org.uk or text the Prayer Chain on 07980 351855. Please ask the person’s permission if you’d like them included in the weekly notices.

Church Online

At 1030am each Sunday, there will be a streamed simple Eucharist – you can watch on the Christ Church Lancaster Youtube channel. There’s an order of service available on the website.

During the week, Morning Prayer is live-streamed on Friday at 0830, with Evening Prayer at 6pm on Wednesday and Sunday. Compline is at 9pm on Saturday. Each day, prayers are offered at 8.30am and 6pm –  do join in from home. These can be followed using the Daily Prayer app, and paper copies are available from Rev Carol.

Our Diocese of Blackburn, and the national Church of England also have YouTube Channels where worship is regularly offered.

The Daily Hope Phoneline

On Sunday the Archbishop of Canterbury launched a free national phone line to help bring worship and prayer to homes across the country whilst our churches remain closed.

It is available on 0800 804 8044. And contains music, reflections, prayers and readings.

Zoom Prayer

Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 9th June begins Prayer4 – 30 minutes of prayer, at 4pm every fortnight. There’ll be a short Bible reading, some music, some stillness, and space to pray for the people and places on your heart – all from the comfort of your own sofa. Zoom details to follow: (any queries see Rev Carol).

Children’s Corner:

Who helps you get your ‘work’ done (these could be tasks at home, school work, employment, etc.)?

Look up Galatians 5: 22-23 in the Bible which lists the ‘fruits’ of the Holy Spirit. Which to the characters to you think you have?

Play “I Spy” and choose things from your home that have a job to do. e.g. oven, tap, switch, etc.

Family Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, that you gave us your Holy Spirit to help us to be brave, have compassion, know what to say and be assured that you are with us. We have everything we need for the job you left us to do. Help us to stop trying to do it in our own strength. Amen

As we remember the Holy Spirit coming like a dove, Liz also suggests: making fairy cakes and colouring the mixture with red and yellow food dye, then adding Oreo pieces on top (to look like wings).

Giggle (or Groan) of the week – suggestions welcome!

Q. Why did the bees take so long getting out of the Ark when the doors were finally open? 

A. Because they were in the archives.

Our Offering

The pandemic has affected us all in different ways. The work of the church looks very different now to three months ago, not just at Christ Church but also across the church family, to which we offer our prayers, time, skills, and also our money. Support is still needed – both in the upkeep of Christ Church, and to help churches in poorer areas of our diocese continue God’s mission. You may need to give a little less to the church because of current money pressures – that is fine. You may be able to give a little more – even for a short time – to help with ongoing costs and to weather the absence of groups using our buildings. Whatever is given is gratefully received with thanks, please have a word (in confidence) about what may be possible for you.


The next Parochial Church Council meeting is on the 17th June. If there are items and issues which you think we should be talking about and doing, please let us know! We’ll be thinking about what church life looks like after lockdown, so if there are changes or continuities you’d like to see, please let Julie Buckley or Rev Carol know. And please keep the council’s decision-making in your prayers.


Would you like to put the fun into fundraising? We’re looking at putting together a group to plan some fundraising events and activities in coming months – if you’d like to help, or if you have some ideas, please let Hilary or Carol know.

Upcoming Festivals – 6 pm Eucharists

We have the following festivals in the coming days – all with a 6pm YouTube Eucharist – please join us:

Monday 1st June – The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.

Thursday 11th June – Corpus Christi (Thanksgiving for the Eucharist)

Friday 12th June – St Barnabas.

Pleas of the week:

The Olive Branch and Morecambe Bay Foodbanks are still desperate for donations: please help if you can, especially tinned vegetables and toiletries.  You can leave food in the collection boxes in the Coop on Quernmore Road, Dalton Square Pharmacy, local supermarkets, or take it to St Thomas’s Centre where the Olive Branch food bank is now based.

Thought for the week:

“Bethlehem was God with us, Calvary was God for us, and Pentecost is God in us.”  Robert Baer 

Eco Group Action for the Week

Use less energy by cooking several dishes in the oven at one time.

Virtual Coffee

All are welcome to join our virtual get-together over Zoom after the 10:30 Sunday Eucharist, starting at 11:30.     The link to join us is: https://zoom.us/j/93352444635?pwd=QUpOZnVYcVVIbDhpcy9QSkd4ODlldz09

Key contacts:

Vicar: Revd Carol Backhouse 942105 revcarolbackhouse@gmail.com

Lay Reader:  Dr Pat Allen 39552.

Churchwarden: Dr Paul Thompson 34949

Churchwarden: Mrs Jacqueline Stamper 64083 churchwarden@christchurchlancaster.org.uk

Parish Safeguarding Officer:  Ms Jane Lippitt 07930 979503 safeguarding@christchurchlancaster.org.uk

Children’s Church: Mrs Liz Mills 67005

Nightshelter Co-ordinator: Ms Jan Norbury 07547 717 060   coordinator.nightshelter@gmail.com

Hall Bookings: hallchristchurch@btinternet.com 07890 351855

Christ Church School  Ms Emma Simpson 60955 head@christchurch-lancaster.lancs.sch.uk