26th July 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 26th July 2020

Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Generous God, you give us gifts and make them grow: though our faith is small as mustard seed, make it grow to your glory and the flourishing of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 Kings 3.5-12

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.

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

Psalm 119.129-136

Refrain:    The opening of your word gives light.

129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

130 The opening of your word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

131 I open my mouth and draw in my breath, as I long for your commandments.

132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.

The opening of your word gives light.

133 Order my steps by your word, and let no wickedness have dominion over me.

134 Redeem me from earthly oppressors so that I may keep your commandments.

135 Show the light of your countenance upon your servant and teach me your statutes.

136 My eyes run down with streams of water, because the wicked do not keep your law.

The opening of your word gives light.

Romans 8.26-39

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God 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 (13.31-33,44-52)         Glory to you, O Lord.

He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’

He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’

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

Reflection (from Revd Carol)

The text of Revd Carol’s reflection will be available on the website at http://christchurchlancaster.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Sermon_200726.pdf and in hard copy for those to whom the newsletter is delivered.

Prayers                                            (from Jacqueline)

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

Heavenly Father, even though we do not know how to pray as we ought, your Spirit will guide and help us as we search in our hearts to know your will for us.  Give us grace to hear your call and to follow it.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Loving Father, you show us signs of the Kingdom of heaven.  Guide your church throughout the world to help grow your Kingdom here on earth.  Forgive us for the Church’s actions that have been less than worthy of those who follow you, especially those physically and emotionally abused.  Inspire with your Spirit Bishops Julian, Philip and Jill, and give grace to Revd Carol and Pat, and all who serve you here at Christ Church.  Help us to live as the vibrant inclusive worshipping community we claim to be, and to show our faith in action to our neighbours.   In our parish cycle of prayer, we pray for those who live and work in Parkgate Drive, Cedarwood Place, and Gleneagles Drive, and also for our local food banks and those who work in them, especially under the extra pressure of the school holidays.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Almighty Father, give the leaders of the world an understanding mind to govern your people, a mind able to discern between good and evil. Heal divisions around the world, and ease the growing tensions with China and with Iran. Give your protection to the ordinary people whose lives are damaged by conflict, persecution, famine, disease or poverty.  Sustain those who flee their homes in search of safety and security, that they come to know that nothing can separate them from your love.  Give wisdom and commitment to those searching for and trialling vaccines against COVID-19, and all making decisions about containing the virus and trying to restore the economy, especially for the neediest and most vulnerable.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Creator Father, you have lent us your creation to steward.  Help us commit to reduce our own and our collective carbon footprint to preserve it for generations to come.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Caring Father, sometimes the sufferings around us seem overwhelming, but we know that all things work together for good and that your Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  Comfort and strengthen all who are in distress, in body, mind or spirit.  Give strength to the individuals and communities in East Lancashire now most severely affected by COVID-19, and to all who care for them.  In our own parish, we pray for: Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Pat Brooks, Bill and Ivy Buckley, Michael Greenhalgh, Angie Topham, Richard Impey, Stephen Gardner, Eddie Barandino, Ann Gilbride and Sitar Rose. We also bring before you those we know to be in distress and in need of your loving embrace.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Eternal Father, through your Son, we know that death cannot separate us from your love.  On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, we pray for all who lost their lives as a result. We also bring before you all who have died recently, whether from hunger or disease, violently or peacefully, and we pray especially for the souls of: Arnold Reyes, Alan Jones, and Brenda Kendall.  Grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom. 

Support those grieving the loss of loved ones, whether recently or years ago, by wrapping your arms of love and comfort around them.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Therefore, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, James the Apostle, 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

Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life, ever giving himself that the world may live: may we so receive within ourselves the power of his death and passion that, in his saving cup, we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

The 1030 Communion service will be recorded each week and uploaded to YouTube (so it will be available later that day).

Other YouTube services will continue as before:

Sunday 6pm                     Evening Prayer

Wednesday 6pm             Evening Prayer

Friday 8.30am                  Morning Prayer

Saturday 9pm                  Compline (Night Prayer)

If you are shielding, or unable to join the Eucharist for whatever reason, you may wish to follow the Spiritual Communion service at home (the order, and a sermon are on the website), using the day’s readings and prayers.

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

Returning to Worship

We will be worshipping in the Hall in coming weeks, as we await investigation and repair works on the Church ceilings. Should you wish to come to a service, please note:

If you have Covid symptoms, or have been told to isolate because you’ve had contact with someone who has, or are feeling unwell, please let someone know and don’t come to church.

Please wear a face-covering.*[See notice below]

Please gel your hands before and after the service, and before receiving communion. 

You will be asked to record your name and contact number on the sheet for traceability – we’re required to do this by law. This will be kept confidentially for 6 weeks.

If you come as a couple, family or household – you may move the seats to sit together. However, solo seats have a 2 metre distance around them.
Children are very welcome to attend the service, but we cannot offer Children’s Church for the time being.

Please continue to make your offering by Standing Order wherever possible. There will be an offertory box for cash or cheque donations, but no collection will be taken.
Communion (bread alone) will be received standing, with a non-touch blessing for those who prefer
There will be no refreshments after the service, and any conversations must happen outside from a sociable distance in small groups. The Hall, and all items that have been touched will be cleaned and disinfected between use.
As spaces are limited, we ask you to “book” in advance. You can do this through Eventbrite via the links:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christ-church-lancaster-eucharist-830-am-tickets-112091542822h

for the 8:30 Sunday Eucharists,   

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christ-church-lancaster-1030-eucharist-tickets-112092176718

for the 10:30 Sunday Eucharists, and

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wednesday-11-am-eucharist-christ-church-lancaster-tickets-114545755438

for the Wednesday 11 am Eucharists.

Please select the date(s) for the Sunday(s) or Wednesday(s) you would like to come.  Alternatively, just contact Jacqueline (64083, 07808 765364 or email as below) or Rev Carol, and we will add your name(s).

*Face coverings in worship

Following the changes to government advice about face coverings, this is what we have received from the Diocese and the National Church: 

‘We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship… remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.

‘There is no need to wear a face covering when leading worship as long as you are a good distance away from people. However, we advise that a mask be worn when distributing communion. We also advise that a face covering be worn when welcoming or bidding farewell to worshippers.’  Worshippers should try to keep their face covered (children and those with particular health conditions exempt) during the service, removing carefully only to receive communion. If you have any questions or concerns, please let Rev Carol know.

We continue to pray for all those affected by this outbreak – and for the church as we begin to grow again, giving thanks for all who have sustained the prayer and community at Christ Church in recent months. We continue to hold Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Hyndburn in our prayers during the outbreaks there. 

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

Church Open for Private Prayer

Christ Church will be also open for private prayer, and the opportunity to light a candle this Sunday from 1pm-4pm (August/September 2-4 pm), and Wednesday 10am-12noon (August/September 10-11 am). Thank you to all the volunteers who are making this happen! If you are able to help ‘church sit’ in coming weeks, please let Rev Carol know. Please see below at “Volunteers needed for church opening”

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.

Children’s Corner:

Several of Jesus’ friends were fishermen. Use small cardboard boxes, yogurt cartons, lolly sticks, etc, to make a boat, and disciples to go in the boat.  Or make an origami boat out of paper. See:

Read these verses found in Psalm 139:13-14 to your children:

‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’

Ask the children what they think these verses are saying to them. Remind the children that God made each of us, God knows us, and we are special.

Point out that each of the disciples was different, but each of them brought their gifts and abilities to Jesus and He made them into a great team! The disciples spent three years working with Jesus. When Jesus went back to heaven the disciples were the ones who told everyone about Jesus and started the early church.

Think of a talent that God has given you. It may be sport, reading, baking, talking to people, making friends, being kind. Challenge:  make a special effort to use your talent at least once during the coming week. Is there a way that you can use your talent to do something good for God?

(There’s also a YouTube story for this week on Christ Church’s Channel)

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

Q.  How do you draw a tree?

A.  Draw a seed and wait.

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.

Zoom Prayer

Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 4th August 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=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)

A People Transformed – Last session tonight!

A 4 session small group resource exploring those questions by drawing on the experience of the early church recorded for us in Acts. All welcome – don’t worry if you missed the previous sessions.

The course runs at 6pm via zoom- 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.

https://zoom.us/j/8069459310

Meeting ID: 806 945 9310 One tap mobile: 02080806591,,8069459310# United Kingdom or dial in: 0208 080 6591   * Link to Common Worship Evening Prayer https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-andorship/join-us-in-daily-prayer/evening-prayer-contemporary-sunday-26-july-2020

Pastoral Visiting

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.   Rev Carol.

Church Cleaning

The next cleaning morning is on Tuesday 28th July at 10 am – all welcome!

Volunteers needed for church opening

Would you be able to spare an hour in August or September, to be in church for an hour to make visitors who come for private prayer welcome? Wednesdays 10-11am and Sundays 2-4pm – please let Rev Carol know, especially if there are dates you’d prefer.

Guided Online Quiet Day

“Come to me … and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

As summer sets in, why not spend some time exploring what it means to learn the unforced rhythms of grace that Jesus talks about in Matthew 11? Join us for this guided online quiet day, aimed particularly at those who would value an introduction to taking a quiet day, but all welcome!

Led by Ruth Hassall, Director of Discipleship on Tuesday 11th August, 10.30 am to 3 pm To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

Online Retreats with Donna Worthington

Online retreats can offer a lovely space for faith journeying.  Donna Worthington, an experienced retreat conductor is offering a series of retreats, each of which costs £20, unless otherwise stated. 

August:

The Wild Man, the River and the Bee, Sat 15th 2-5 pm or Mon 17th 9:30am-12:30pm;  

Rublev’s Icon, Sun 9th 2-5 pm.

September:

Jonah and the Whale, Sat 19th 2-5 pm or Mon 21st 9:30am-12:30pm;  

Ignatian Prayer and Training, Wed 9th and Wed 16th 6:30-9pm (participants need to attend both sessions – £40)

October: 

Resurrection Angel, Sat 17th 2-5pm or Mon 19th 9:30am-12:30pm;  

The Absence of God, Tues 27th 6:30-9pm

November:  

Advent – a lesser Lent, Sat 7th 2-5pm or Mon 9th 9:30am-12:30pm;  

A course/retreat “The Interior Castle – exploring St Teresa’s prayer ministry” of six weekly sessions (Thursdays 6:30-9pm, starting 30th July) costs £100.

For more information contact Rev Carol or Jacqueline, and for bookings please contact Donna Worthington:    drworthington@live.co.uk

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 in exchange for a donation to church funds. Please contact her on marlenephillipsmusic@gmail.com

Pleas of the week:

The Olive Branch and Morecambe Bay Foodbanks are especially desperate for donations in the school holidays: 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.

Administrator needed!

Our local Methodist Circuit is looking for a new administrator, working 15 hours per week and based at the Cornerstone. More details from Ruth Champley (Circuit Steward) on 417031 or ruth787@btinternet.com – closing date 7th August.

Foundation Governors sought

Dolphinholme VC Primary School are looking for new Foundation Governors. If you feel able to help in this way, or for more details, please contact Rev Cindy Rigney, revcinders@gmail.com

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. 

Face Coverings

An update from Julie Buckley: So far we have received over £500 in donations.. 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 Julie know. Donations can be made via PayPal to PayPal.me/ JBuckley321

Thought for the week:

It is in God that we find that we find our neighbors and discover our responsibility to them. …. Only in and through God does service become possible.      (Henri Nouwen)

Eco Group Action for the Week

Please save any good unwanted clothing and goods for a post lockdown sale once we return to church.

Virtual Coffee

Owing to the timing of the services in the Hall, it has become impossible to host the ‘after-church’ online get-together.  Please let Rev Carol or Jacqueline know if there’s another time you’d like to meet up virtually, as we don’t want to lose contact with one another.

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