(Note: the newsletter can also be downloaded as a PDF.)
The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster
A vibrant inclusive worshipping community
Sunday 28th June 2020
Third Sunday after Trinity
The order of service for our streamed Communion during Ordinary Time 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/2020/06/Livestream-Communion-OT.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)
God our saviour, look on this wounded world in pity and in power; hold us fast to your promises of peace won for us by your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfil the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who pre- ceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.’
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Truly the Lord is our shield.
1 My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: with my mouth will I proclaim your faithfulness throughout all generations.
2 I will declare that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness as firm as the heavens.
3 For you said: ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
4 “‘Your seed will I establish for ever and build up your throne for all generations.”’
Truly the Lord is our shield.
15 Happy are the people who know the shout of triumph: they walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.
16 In your name they rejoice all the day long and are exalted in your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength, and in your favour you lift up our heads.
18 Truly the Lord is our shield; the Holy One of Israel is our king.
Truly the Lord is our shield.
Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present your- selves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew (Matthew 10.40-42) Glory to you, O Lord.
‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Reflection (from Revd Carol)
If you ever see footage of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison, take a moment to notice his feet. Mandela is wearing a pair of brown leather, lace up shoes. Nothing special, you might say. But like most prisoners arriving in prison, Mandela had been stripped of his own clothes and shoes – as a way of stripping him of his identity and dignity. If a prisoner was set free, the clothes and shoes were returned, but as Mandela was sentenced to life, his own clothes and shoes had vanished years before.
The day when Mandela was due to walk out of prison, one of the prison guards saw the problem. He asked his shoe size, and realising that it was his own, he took off his brown leather lace up shoes, the ones worn as standard issue by all the guards, so that Mandela could walk free, and with dignity once again.
Perhaps today’s gospel story is about Jesus encouraging us to be kind, for we often never know what will happen as a result of our own acts of kindness, especially when one is kind to someone like a child who can give nothing material back.
Perhaps today’s gospel story is about seeing something of Jesus in each and every person we meet – so that when we say ‘welcome’ – we say it as if it were to Christ himself. Even when another person is different to us, in schooling, appearance, accent, age or wealth – Christ asks us to make them welcome, to go beyond our human assumptions of ‘they won’t be happy here’, or worse, ‘they don’t belong’.
Perhaps today’s gospel is for all those who guard doors. I don’t just mean the soldiers and security and prison guards who literally say who can go in or out of a door. I don’t just mean guarding the doors of our community – of who is in the in crowd, who can get the education, healthcare, wealth, status, safety and justice, when many can’t.
I also mean the guarding the doors of our own hearts – whether we can be moved to compassion, moved to carry yet another person on our heart in prayer and care, even when there’s already enough going on.
As lockdown lifts, each one of us will be unlocking doors. Some literally, in the case of this church building, or as the shielding restrictions are lifted, or as people return to work. Other doors will lie in our own hearts, as we break down fears of being with others, of our own fragility and health, of being out and living in a new world. It is human instinct to be wary, to be cautious and hold on tight to our safety net.
Jesus’ good news is this. As doors open, each person we welcome through them brings something of Christ with them. Each act of kindness, however small, will be blessed by God. And that will open doors in our own hearts, to be able to carry yet another person there, to have compassion in the way that Christ himself has compassion for each and every one of us.
That might seem like a daunting task, especially if your reserves of compassion are running dry. None of us are perfect, no-one can possibly carry the whole world in their heart at once. Rather, we do all these things in Jesus’ name – trusting that He will refill our wells of kindness and compassion when they run low, and that we will see the world through His eyes and notice the little ones who even need a cup of cold water to drink.
Jesus promises a reward for kindness. He’s not talking about spiritual brownie points, of building up kudos in heaven for how many good things we do on earth. Rather, the reward is to be closer to His loving presence, closer to the source of all kindness and compassion – and being able to personally welcome Him into our churches, our homes, our communities, our hearts.
I don’t know what was going through that prison guard’s mind when he gave Nelson Mandela his shoes. It was a small act of kindness that allowed a man to walk out of a prison door and reclaim his freedom and dignity once again.
But the story goes, that several years later the prison guard died, and Mandela heard of it. He arranged to come and have tea with the widow, and on hearing that she was in financial difficulty, Mandela paid the university fees for the guard’s daughter, knowing that education would open doors for her to live a better life.
Kindness and compassion may be risky, daring things to do – and we can never quite know what they will look like. But compassion opens doors, allowing us to welcome someone with dignity, and ultimately, to welcome Christ into our midst. Amen.
Prayers for the week:
Heavenly Father, truly you are our shield. May we serve as a shield to those who are vulnerable, and give us grace to hold open the doors of our hearts and lives to you and to our neighbour.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Eternal Father, inspire us to be an inviting, inclusive community that not only welcomes people in, but also goes out to walk alongside people where they are. Bless our Bishops Julian, Philip and Jill, and all clergy and lay leaders, including Revd Carol, Pat, as they teach, guide and serve us. It is you, Lord, who bring people through the door of any church; give us the grace and sensitivity to ensure that we never create barriers to anyone wishing to know you. We bring before you those taking decisions about re-opening the church, that You will guide them to safe solutions.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Almighty Father, bring your peace to all places of violence and conflict, and your repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation to broken relationships between people of different races and faiths. Bless the work of Water Aid and other agencies bringing clean water to transform the life-chances of families with no or contaminated water supplies. Guide the minds and hearts of leaders charged with important decisions for the future, and give strength to those needing to implement them, especially in our schools. Keep the needs of the most vulnerable paramount in their deliberations.
In our parish cycle of prayer, we pray for those who live and work in Aberdeen Road, Wyresdale Road, and Kirkes Road, We also bring before you the families who normally attend Tiddlers, and also the prisoners in Lancaster Farms and their families.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer
Creator Father, we see and feel the effects of climate change all around us; give us courage to act now to protect your creation for future generations.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer
Caring Father, sustain those feeling locked in hospitals, hospices, care homes, prisons, or relationships, in fear, anxiety and depression, or in want of food, water or shelter. In the power of your Spirit, remove those barriers and fill them with your comfort and hope. We especially bring before you those injured in Glasgow on Friday, and for: 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, Ann Gilbride and Sitar Rose;and those whom we know to be in any kind of need.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Eternal Father, we pray for all who have died recently, including the man killed in Glasgow on Friday, those who have died from Covid-19, and for Arnold Reyes, Alan Jones, and Brenda Kendall. May those who feel locked in the darkness of grief know the comfort of your free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus your Son.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Therefore, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Peter, Paul, Thomas and all the saints, we commend ourselves and all creation to your unfailing and redeeming love.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Post Communion Prayer
O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining and whose power we cannot comprehend: show us your glory as far as we can grasp it, and shield us from knowing more than we can bear until we may look upon you without fear; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen
Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:
- O, for a heart to praise my God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px-l5zoU92I
- I come with joy, a child of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpBs0b8Nnzs
- And now, O Father, mindful of the love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTBkw994IR8
- Christ is the one who calls https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJhNYBhm0cA
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. 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 at 1030 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.
Festivals this week: (YouTube Eucharist)
Monday 29th June 6pm SS Peter and Paul, Apostles
Friday 2nd July 6pm St Thomas
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@christ- churchlancaster.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 email@example.com or text the Prayer Chain on 07980 351855. Please ask the person’s permission if you’d like them included in the weekly notices.
The national prayer for this outbreak:
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
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.
Musical Chairs: Play a game of musical chairs. Afterwards, discuss how it feels to be out of the game because there is no seat for us. Musical chairs is often a game where we see the frustration of not having any space left for us. Imagine if Jesus came to church and we didn’t let him sit in our seat!
What would be your favourite way to be welcomed home (e.g. house tidy, slippers ready, hot chocolate prepared and your favourite programme on TV)?
If Jesus walked into your home right now how would he know he was welcome?
Volunteer to each do something special to welcome another member of the family home at some point this week, thinking about everyone’s responses to question 1. Once you have planned what you will all do, sit together and read this prayer: Lord Jesus, you are welcome here. Help us to remember you are always with us and to treat others in a way that makes you happy. Amen
(There’s also a YouTube story for this week on Christ Church’s Channel)
Giggle (or Groan) of the week (suggestions welcome!)
Q. What kind of lights did Noah have on the ark?
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.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 7th July is the next meeting of 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=TlV6QUQ5U-VdiK0p1M0Q0cE0vRXIvUT09
Meeting ID: 806 945 9310 Password: ChristChch
Dial in: 0208 080 6591 Meeting ID: 806 945 9310 Password: 310771 (any queries see Rev Carol)
A People Transformed.
The people of God have historically and globally worshipped under all circumstances including threats, war and persecution – and for us, now, in a time of pandemic. They have had to ask new questions about what it means to continue to live out their calling to be a faithful presence and prophetic witness in their communities under new circumstances. ‘A People Transformed’ is a 4 session small group resource exploring those questions by drawing on the experience of the early church recorded for us in Acts.
The course runs at 6pm via zoom every Sunday in July – and will be followed by a short service of evening prayer. If you’re not able to connect but would still like to follow the course at home, please let Rev Carol know.
Would you like to put the fun into fundraising? There’s a Zoom meeting tomorrow (29th June) at 10am to plan some events – if you’d like to help, or if you have some ideas, please let Hilary or Carol know.
An update from Julie Buckley: So far we have made and distributed 50 masks. There are a few donations still expected either in cash, or to be paid directly into church funds, and already have over £300. Many thanks to Marion who has also sewn beautiful masks and to others who have donated some fabrics.
If anyone wants masks made to order, let me know. I have some children’s fabric being delivered later this week. Donations can be made via PayPal to PayPal.me/ JBuckley321
Sociably-Distanced Cleaning Morning!
Please can you spare an hour (or two) on Tuesday 30th June from 10am to help get the church ready as we begin to open for private prayer? All help is gratefully received. Please bring gloves, and, if you can, a packet of antiseptic wipes.
Learn the recorder or piano
Now is the perfect time to learn a new instrument. Marlene has offered to give individual lessons via Skype or Zoom in recorder or piano, and in exchange for a donation to church funds. Please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that restrictions have lifted to allow sociably-distanced meetings outside, it’d be lovely to meet more of you and get to know you better, although I appreciate that shielding rules are still in place for many. If you’d like to talk, and if there’s a convenient time and place, please let me know.
Befriending our homeless
A befriending scheme is starting, to meet with people who’ve been homeless and are now in more permanent accommodation. It is to help people to make friends beyond existing circles, and to be welcomed into wider communities, as well as to offer practical advice and support to live well in permanent housing. If you’re interested, Rev Carol has more details.
Re-opening for private prayer, and worship
We plan to open the Lady Chapel in church for private prayer as of Sunday 5th July. We’re looking for volunteers to be in church to welcome visitors, gently encourage sociable distancing where needed, and to help clean round at the end of the session, on Sundays 1-4pm and Wednesdays 10-12pm. If you are able to help out either on a particular date or on a regular basis, please let Revd Carol or Jacqueline know. Please also pray for Standing Committee this Tuesday as they meet to discuss the practicalities of opening for worship, following the government’s recent announcement, as soon as we can do so safely.
Pleas of the week:
The Olive Branch and Morecambe Bay Foodbanks are still desperate for donations: please help if you can, either by putting food and toiletries in the collection boxes, or giving money for them to buy what is needed: https://www.the-olivebranch.org.uk/donate/ or https://morecambebay.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/
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.
Thought for the week:
Everything visible, without exception, is the outpouring of God. Richard Rohr
Eco Group Action for the Week
If we get supermarket deliveries and goods online, there’s usually more plastic and packaging than we would like. Try to avoid it where you can, and reuse and recycle when you can’t.
All are warmly welcome to join our virtual get-together over Zoom after the 10:30 Sunday Eucharist, starting at 11:30. The link to join is: https://zoom.us/j/97427736489?pwd=ZEJacGg4WDNoRGtOSDNmVitjMTYrZz09
Vicar: Revd Carol Backhouse 942105 email@example.com
Lay Reader: Dr Pat Allen 39552.
Churchwarden: Dr Paul Thompson 34949
Churchwarden: Mrs Jacqueline Stamper 64083 firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Safeguarding Officer: Ms Jane Lippitt 07930 979503 email@example.com
Children’s Church: Mrs Liz Mills 67005
Nightshelter Co-ordinator: Ms Jan Norbury 07547 717 060 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hall Bookings: email@example.com 07890 351855
Christ Church School Ms Emma Simpson 60955 firstname.lastname@example.org