7th June 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 7th June 2020

Trinity

The order of service for our streamed Communion 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

Collect (Prayer for the week)

Holy God, faithful and unchanging: enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth, and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love, that we may truly worship you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen.

Readings

Isaiah 40.12-17, 27-31

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?  Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering.  All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,

‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’?

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

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

Psalm 8

1  O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!

2  Your majesty above the heavens is praised out of the mouths of babes at the breast.

 You have founded a stronghold against your foes, that you might still the enemy and the avenger.

4  When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have ordained,

5  What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them; mere human beings, that you should seek them out?

6  You have made them little lower than the angels and crown them with glory and honour.

7  You have given them dominion over the works of your hands and put all things under their feet,

8  All sheep and oxen, even the wild beasts of the field,

9  The birds of the air, the fish of the sea and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.

10 O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!

2 Corinthians 13.11-13

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew (Matthew 28.16-20). Glory to you, O Lord. 

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

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

Reflection (also available to listen to on the website)

Trinity Sunday can feel like a preacher’s nightmare, with its myriad of theological trip hazards lurking for those trying to explain how one God can be three persons, and how each flows into the other and out over the world in love. However polished our prose or beautiful the metaphor, we always fall short of describing God, and how God relates to our lives.

Even with the help of the creed later in the service, it is still hard to capture the mysterious energy and overflowing spiritual love that is the God who is the creator, redeemer and sustainer of our world, and of each and every one of us.

In a way, that sets us up for the days and months ahead. We’ve gone from the more concrete theological certainty of the last 90 days, with its anchor points of Lent, Easter and Pentecost. Times when we heard the Father speak at Jesus’ baptism, fasted with Christ in the wilderness of Lent, watched Jesus as he wrestled with the Father’s will during Holy Week, and then spent 50 days rejoicing at the resurrection, until the Holy Spirit came in wind and flame upon the disciples who will continue the next chapter of the story.

And now, we tip over into what the church calls ordinary time. Things might feel anything but ordinary or certain this year – but until we hit November, there are no big feasts or fasts. We get on with the ordinary life of a Christian, trying to live out all that we’ve just celebrated, and welcome others to worship Christ. As a helpful reminder of this, the colours in church, on the altar and pulpit, would turn to green. The great, green growing season of ordinary time.

On one hand, it reminds us that God is with us in the ordinary times. Recently, we have known God at work in extraordinary ways, in the care of strangers, neighbours, families and friends for each other, and in the kindness and love which has helped to weather the pandemic. The parables which we will hear Jesus telling in coming Sundays tell us about God using ordinary things to do extra ordinary deeds and give extraordinary blessings. Even when we worship, God uses ordinary bread, wine, oil and water to make the extra ordinary possible.

We cannot spend our entire lives feasting or fasting – and so Jesus shows us how to live in ordinary times too – but with the extraordinary claim that we are building God’s kingdom. Perhaps ordinary time is routine, undramatic, maybe even a bit dull – these are still holy moments for God. The Spirit still stirs our hearts, Christ still makes the ultimate sacrifice of love, and the Father still creates beauty, time and eternity out of God’s very self.

But you will notice that our Epistle, and our Gospel readings today come from the very end of those Biblical books. Paul is signing off his last letter to the Corinthians, and the resurrected Jesus is signing off the disciples to take the next step into the world. Both have a note of ‘over to you, the next chapter is yours’ about them.

We too are entering a new chapter in the life of this church, this city, this country – and even in our own lives and families. It will be anything but certain or ordinary, without familiar anchor points from the past. We’re called to live like God – in a community where each person is of equal worth in God’s sight, and where prayer and love overflows to the world around us. Where we use ordinary things, ordinary people to do extraordinary deeds in God’s name.

And if the doubts become overwhelming and that sounds like an extraordinary thing indeed, return to Isaiah’s prophecy. Nothing is impossible for God, our creator, redeemer and sustainer. Nothing is too big a trouble or too small a detail. The God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the source and fountain of life and love – and will sustain us in the ordinary, and the extraordinary chapters ahead.     Amen.

Prayers for the week: (from Pat, our Reader)

Father, Lord of life, truth and grace, your mystery lies at the root of all creation. Deepen our awareness of your awesome being. We pray for our parish of Christ Church, for Rev Carol our Vicar, our churchwardens, and everyone supporting the church’s mission while in lockdown. We pray for all who attend services remotely or join in the daily prayers of the church, that they may find them a comfort, an inspiration and a blessing.

In our parish cycle of prayer, we pray for those who live and work in Langdale Place and Melrose Street. Also for the staff, patients and families at St John’s Hospice. 

Everlasting God, we exalt your name in all the world.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Son of God, you reach through eternity to touch our mortal lives, and show us God in human form. Teach us to recognise you in our neighbour, especially the poor, the marginalised and the dispossessed. We pray for all who are suffering during the lockdown:  for families and individuals who are struggling with loss of income, for those who are lonely or isolated, or whose relationships are under strain. We give thanks for the statutory and voluntary agencies, and the good neighbours who are helping the most vulnerable, and ask your blessing on their work. We pray for all homeless people now in temporary accommodation, that they may be helped to find permanent housing. As you share our life, may we come to share in your divine glory.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Holy Spirit of fellowship, unite all peoples in one human family. Inspire the leaders of nations to work together for peace and justice. We pray for the initiatives to restart peace talks in Libya, and for the UN’s emergency relief efforts in Yemen. Grant your protection to refugees, and all forced to flee from war and persecution: we pray that all may find a place of safety. We pray for an end to violence in the cities of the United States, and for political will to tackle the issues of racism, injustice and inequality. God of peace, be present in our midst.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Triune God, you give power to the faint, and strengthen the weak. We pray for all who are sick, or suffering in body, mind or spirit, in hospitals and hospices, or at home, and all who minister to the sick. We pray especially for those suffering from Covid-19 in hospitals and care homes, and for the NHS staff and carers looking after them.

We bring before you: 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 for all those known to us who need your healing touch. Restore our faith that you are with us to the end of the age.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you make us a little lower than the angels and are mindful of every one of us. With love and thanksgiving we commend to you all who have died, remembering especially Norman Trewhitt and Arnold (AJ) Reyes.

Grant to all who mourn the comfort of your presence and the hope of your kingdom. Crown the departed with your glory and honour.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

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

Merciful Father, accept these 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.

Post Communion Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons yet one God, now and for ever. Amen

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

*Recorded by the Virtual Christ Church Choir (Revd Carol, Jean, Jacqueline, 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

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 https://zoom.us/j/8069459310?pwd=TlV6QUQ5UVdiK0p1M0Q0cE0vRXIvUT09

Meeting ID: 806 945 9310 Password: ChristChch

Dial in: 0208 080 6591  Meeting ID: 806 945 9310 Password: 310771 (any queries see Rev. Carol)

Children’s Corner:

Can you think of anything in your home that comes in sets of 3 or has a link with the number 3?

Who do you find it easiest to think about – God the Father, Jesus the Son or the Holy Spirit? Why do you think that is?

Play a word association game starting with the word ‘triangle’ where you take turns saying a word that has some association with the word that has been said before. Then say the following prayer by each taking it in turns to say a word. (This is just a fun reminder of how God is working with Jesus and the Holy Spirit all the time).

Family Prayer:

Father God, thank you for sending Jesus to live on earth a human life and thank you for your Holy Spirit living in us. Help us to understand more about you. Amen

(There’s also a YouTube story for Trinity Sunday on Christ Church’s Channel)

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.

Our Archbishop

The Most Rev. John Sentamu has been the Archbishop of York (our province) for 15 years, and retires today. Please pray for him and his wife Margaret as they move to Newcastle and begin a new phase of life and ministry. There’s a national service at 9am today to bid him farewell, at which he will preach. Our new Archbishop, Stephen Cottrell, will be enthroned on the 9th July – more details to follow.

PCC

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.

Fundraising

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:

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

Friday 12th June – St Barnabas.

Thought for the week:

“The Mystery of God as Trinity invites us into full participation with God—a flow, a relationship, a waterwheel of always outpouring love. God is a verb much more than a noun.”                                 Richard Rohr

Eco Group Action for the Week

Many organisations are working behind the scenes for a greener economic recovery once the coronavirus is under control. Take what action you can to support and encourage these vital campaigns.

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

Q. How does Paul make his coffee?

A. Hebrews it.

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.

The Children’s Society

Are running an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to support over 200,000 vulnerable children during this time of crisis. As more traditional means of fundraising are not possible, they’ve asked for donations to continue their work with children who are suffering abuse, neglect or mental health issues. www.childrenssociety.org.uk/lifeline or 0300 303 7000.

Face coverings for church funds

Julie Buckley is offering to making face coverings – in exchange for donations to church funds. Contact Julie on buckleys@live.co.uk.

Feeling crafty?

When we are able to return to the church building, social distancing rules will still apply. To help us keep the space and mark out which pews people can safely sit in, please would you consider making some bunting? Length of string/ribbon = 2.3 metres, in bright colours/textures of fabric triangles, with lots of green, if you can find it.  And if you have lots of blue fabric, please make a 2 metre length of blue bunting for the Lady Chapel!  If people are short of scraps, you may be able to buy cheap fabric from Standfast & Barracks https://m.facebook.com/pg/clearancefabrics/about/. Please deliver bunting to the Vicarage, by 4th July. Thank you!

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/93246559345?pwd=RDhkSW0zTEdvUlVOV2ZiRlpZV1dsUT09

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