27th September 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 27th September 2020

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Lord of creation, whose glory is around and within us: open our eyes to your wonders, that we may serve you with reverence and know your peace at our lives’ end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Readings

Ezekiel 18.1-4,25-32

The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says,

‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of any- one, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

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

Psalm 25.1-8

Refrain: Remember, Lord, your compassion and love.

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies triumph over me.

2 Let none who look to you be put to shame, but let the treacherous be shamed and frustrated.

3 Make me to know your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths.

4 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you have I hoped all the day long.

5 Remember, Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.

Remember, Lord, your compassion and love.

6 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, but think on me in your goodness, O Lord, according to your steadfast love.

7 Gracious and upright is the Lord; therefore shall he teach sinners in the way.

8 He will guide the humble in doing right and teach his way to the lowly.

Remember, Lord, your compassion and love.

Philippians 2.1-13

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew 21.23-32 Glory to you, O Lord.

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

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

Reflection (from Revd Carol, our )

The text of Revd Carol’sreflection will be available on the website at  http://christchurchlancaster.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Sermon_200927.pdf and in hard copy for those who have them delivered.

Prayers                                (from Pat, our Reader)

Lord, your kingdom reaches from the heavens embracing the whole of creation. You call your church to assist with your harvest, telling people of your love. We pray for our diocese, our bishops Julian, Philip and Jill, and for our parish of Christ Church: for Rev Carol, our Vicar, Jacqueline and Paul our churchwardens, and all who worship and serve you here.  In our parish cycle of prayer we  pray for those who live and work in Grimeshaw Lane and Bond Street, and for the staff and prisoners at HMP Lancaster Farms. We ask your blessing on James Cowey, to be baptised today.  Give us willing hearts, hands and voices with which to respond to your call.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Lord, you search the hearts of those in positions of leadership. Give them compassion and integrity.

We pray for those parts of the world ravaged by war and conflict, remembering especially Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Belarus. We pray for all victims of persecution and injustice, and for all refugees, especially those living in camps as the winter approaches.   As fires rage in the Amazon and in Siberia, inspire the leaders of nations to work together to tackle the climate crisis, and to protect our beautiful and fragile planet. Make us all willing to live more simply and sustainably. May we all strive for peace and justice.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Lord, you know our concerns before we ask. Hear us as we bring before you all who are in special need. We pray for all who are sick, or suffering in body, mind or spirit, in hospitals and hospices, or at home, and ask you to bless and strengthen those who care for them.   In our parish we pray especially for: Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Pat Brooks, Bill and Ivy Buckley, Michael Greenhalgh, Stephen Gardner, Eddie Barandino, Ann Gilbride, Sitar Rose and Thea Harris-Ellis; and in a moment of silence we bring before you those known to us who need your healing touch.  Bless them and bring them to rejoice in you.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Lord there is no darkness that can extinguish your eternal light. In this faith we entrust to you those who have died, remembering Jack Renninson, Francis Clegg, Philip Marshall, Ron Goodwin (priest) and Roy Long, and all our loved ones departed. Today we pray for the soul of Amelia Spruyt, whose first anniversary falls at this time, and we ask you to surround with your love Patrick and Timi, Amelia’s mum, Pat, and all her family. Raise us with all the faithful departed to your eternal kingdom.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Therefore, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Michael 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

Post Communion Prayer

Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son that love is the fulfilling of the law: grant that we may love you with our whole heart and our neighbours as ourselves; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

Prayer and Worship this week:

Sunday 8.30am:  Eucharist

Sunday 10.30am:  Eucharist (then uploaded to YouTube)

Sunday 2-4pm:  Private Prayer in Church

Sunday 4.30pm Study course (via Zoom)

Sunday 6pm: Celtic Evening Prayer (in the Hall)

Tuesday 6pm: Eucharist for St Michael and All Angels (via YouTube)

Wednesday 10:  Private Prayer in Church

Wednesday 11am:  Eucharist (in the Hall)

Wednesday 5.30pm: Meditation

Wednesday 6pm:   Evening Prayer (in the Storey Chapel, then via YouTube)

Friday 8.30am:  Morning Prayer (YouTube)

Saturday 9pm:  Compline (YouTube)

If you are unable to join the service for whatever reason, you may wish to follow the Spiritual Communion service at home (the order of service, 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 hope that repairs on the church roof and ceiling will commence soon, so we shall be continuing to worship in the Hall and online in coming weeks. Please note the following covid- precautions:

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.

Unless you’re exempt, please wear a covering over your nose and mouth.

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

If you have the NHS COVID-19 app, please scan the QR code on entry to check in. Otherwise 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 (up to six in a group with a 2 metre distance around the group).  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 at the Sunday Eucharists are limited, we ask you to “book” in advance. You can do this on Eventbrite via the links: 

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

for the 8:30 Eucharist and

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christ-church-lancaster-1030-eucharist-tickets-112092136598

for the 10:30 Eucharist.

Please select the date(s) for the Sunday or Sundays 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).

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.

Opening for Private Prayer

Christ Church will also be open for private prayer, and the opportunity to light a candle this, and forthcoming Sundays from 2pm-4pm, and Wednesdays 10-11am. Thank you to all the volunteers who are making this happen!

While it is excellent news that we expect the contractors to start work on the roof and then the ceiling very shortly, this will however mean that we will have to cease opening for private prayer for the duration of the interior work.

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.

Prayer and Support

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.

Zoom Prayer

Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 29th September  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)

Children’s Corner:

Play ‘Simon Says’ – give the children actions to do (e.g. scratch your head, clap your hands) but they must only do it if you say ‘Simon says…’ first. We know in this game that if ‘Simon’ says something, we must do it. How about God? How can we know what he’s asking us to do (the Bible tells us), and do we actually do it?

Do we find it easy or difficult to do the things other people ask us to do?

Do we find it easy or difficult to do the things God asks us to do in the Bible?

Family Prayer

One of God’s most important instructions is to love one another. On a sheet of paper, write ‘Jesus said: LOVE ONE ANOTHER’ at the top. Agree on some practical things you will to do to show love for each other this week. Write them down (or draw for younger children). Display what you have decided somewhere everyone can see it. Pray: Father God, help us to not just to talk about obey- ing you but to actually do it because we trust you. Amen.

(There’s also a YouTube story for this week on Christ Church’s Channel – and colouring and activity sheets at the back of the hall.)

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

They’ve just found a gene for shyness. They would have found it earlier, but it was hiding behind a couple of other genes.

Children’s Church meet-up

While we’re unable to run Children’s Church in current circumstances, if you’d be interested in a Zoom meet-up for families, please let Rev Carol know which days/times you would prefer.

Last session tonight – 27th September

‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ says Jesus. Today at 4.30pm we’ll be looking at some of the people of the New Testament, to see what Jesus’ friends, family and disciples can teach us about what it’s like to live with Jesus.  All welcome – to one or both of the remaining sessions, meeting on Zoom:

https://zoom.us/j/8751945920?pwd=elBMRFk1K3BXZ2ZlVUdNYnNSakN5UT09

Meeting ID: 875 194 5920    Passcode: 7757

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.   Or ask Jacqueline (in confidence) if you’d like a Standing Order and/or Gift Aid declaration form.

Pastoral Support

Now that further lockdown restrictions have been imposed, I’m still able to offer pastoral support, especially in times of emergency. Please contact me by phone or email in the first instance.  Rev. Carol

Baptisms, weddings, banns, etc.

If you would like to book a Wedding or a Baptism, or wish to enquire about Banns or certificates, please contact Rev Carol directly as Vestry Hours have had to be suspended owing to the new rules.   (If you would be willing to help with Vestry Hours once they can resume, please speak to Rev Carol or Jacqueline Stamper. Full training will be given.)

Harvest Festival

On Sunday 4th October, we will celebrate our Harvest Festival, giving thanks for the earth’s riches, and for the lives and livelihoods which have given us our daily food. We will pray also for those who are malnourished or hungry, and especially for the work local foodbanks.

As part of the service, there will be a special collection for our winter Night Shelter – so please bring a donation of one or more of the following: BAKED BEANS, SPAGHETTI, SOUP, CURRIES, CHILLI, STEAK OR CHICKEN MEALS, PIES. TUNA, SARDINES, CORNED BEEF, HAM, HOT DOGS, PEAS, CARROTS, SWEETCORN, POTATOES, TOMATOES, RICE PUDDING, CUSTARD, TINNED FRUIT, COFFEE (4 oz), TEA BAGS, HOT CHOCOLATE, LONG LIFE MILK, CEREALS, PORRIDGE, JAM, PASTA, RICE, MASHED POTATOES, TOILETRIES.

During lockdown, our food banks have been in demand like never before. If you’d prefer to give financially to the Olive Branch, there will be a retiring collection after both morning Eucharists.

Harvest Supper

Unfortunately, given current lockdown regulations, we’re unable to meet together to share our Harvest Supper. However, on Saturday 10th October at 6pm, we’ll host a zoom gathering – all welcome! Beginning with a blessing for our homes and tables. Bring your own meal and drink, and if you would like to share a poem, story, song (or even dance!) –  the more, the merrier!

Elections for Church Council, and our review of 2019

Every year, the church and parish meet together to review the year, and elect our churchwardens and PCC members who will represent us as we plan our worship, outreach, and life together. The Annual Parochial Church Meeting was delayed because of lockdown – and legally has to happen by the end of October. So – please pray, and have a think if you would like to stand for election, or if you know someone who you’d like to nominate. No previous experience needed – and almost all posts are subject to a DBS check.  Do chat to Rev Carol or the current post holders if you’re curious about what’s involved.

They are:

Churchwardens (two posts)

Deanery Synod representatives (who meet with other church representatives from across Lancaster and Morecambe and who elect General Synod representatives from the Diocese). Christ Church is currently eligible to elect two voting representatives.

Members of PCC (currently six posts)

Our Treasurer and Parish Safeguarding Officer are ex-officio members of PCC and are appointed by PCC.

The reports for 2019 will soon be available, so please do read them, and bring along any questions and reflections to the APCM on Sunday 25th October.

Annual revision of the Electoral Roll

Please take a moment to look at the poster attached with this newsletter and consider signing up to the Electoral Roll, if you haven’t already done so.  You need to be on the Electoral Roll (including if you are resident in the parish) to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting and for Deanery and Diocesan Synod members.  The number on the Roll determines how many Deanery Synod representatives we have, and it is Deanery Synod members who will elect the new General Synod in 2021, so it’s especially important this year.  The annual revision formally starts today (27th September) and completes on 10th October – see the notice attached.  Please contact Jacqueline to learn more and/or complete a form. (You don’t need to complete another form if you filled one in from Spring 2019 onward.)

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

Applications for church schools 2021

If you have a child who will be going into Reception/Year 7 in 2021, and you are considering applying on faith grounds to a church school (Christ Church, or Ripley St Thomas), please discuss this with Rev Carol, as the admissions criteria have recently changed following the Covid disruption.

Retreat in Daily Life

Please see the attached notice from Lancaster Priory, for a “retreat in daily life” – a week of daily times of prayer and daily half-hour individual meetings with an experienced prayer guide during the week of 18th-23rd October, in which one can participate either in person or online.

Pleas of the week:

The Olive Branch and Morecambe Bay Foodbanks continue to need donations: please help if you can, either by putting food and toiletries in the collection boxes, or by 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/

Drivers needed to deliver meals

During Lockdown ‘The Ark’ at St Tees, ‘The Mustard Seed’ at The Priory and ‘The Breakfast Shelter’ at New Life, have joined forces with Eggcup to prepare and deliver meals on Tuesdays and Fridays to the formerly homeless.  The food is collected from LDHAS on Edward Street at 5pm and deliveries take 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the traffic and how talkative the clients are. 

Church Cleaning:

The next cleaning morning is likely to be on 6th October – all welcome.

Bottles tops needed

Our Scouts are collecting plastic bottle tops for a local project: www.preciousplasticlancaster.co.uk. Milk bottles, shampoo bottles, washing up bottles – anything! If you can donate, please wash the tops and put them in an envelope. Northern Yarn (6 Kings Arcade) are also accepting donations.

Treading Lightly Network

The Treading Lightly Network (TLN) invites Christians involved in churches in Lancaster to join a Zoom meeting to explore how our different churches can respond better to the challenge of climate change.  A new momentum is building across the City helped by Lancaster City Council declare a Climate Emergency for Lancaster https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sites/climate-emergency.  We are beginning to see new initiatives and actions. This October we should be hearing the recommendations of the Lancaster City Council’s People’s Jury https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sites/climate-emergency/lancaster-district-people-s-jury with ideas how Lancaster might respond.   So it seems a good time for local Christians to start sharing ideas of what we in our different churches are doing and could do. 

To encourage this TLN is hosting an exploratory meeting at 7:30pm on Thursday 7th October.  The meeting will include the following:

• Welcome & introductions

• Overview

• Update from individual churches

• Break-out rooms to discuss

• Plenary

• Closing worship/prayer

Please email hkadmin@phonecoop.coop and Hugh Kidd will send you the link.

Boxes of Hope

Let’s join with Christ Church School in supporting the Boxes of Hope Appeal, a charity which visits Romania each year to distribute shoe boxes to children.

An ideal box will contain:

* A selection of toys and games such as a ball, car, doll, skipping rope, yo-yo, dominoes; 

* Sweets (with a use by date of at least March next year);

* Notebook, colouring book, pens, crayons, pencils, rubber, ruler, pencil sharpener;

* Hat, scarf, mittens or gloves, socks;

* Soap and a face cloth, toothbrush, tooth-paste, comb or hair brush, hair accessories.

If are able to fill a shoe box or send in some items that could be used to fill one in school, we’d be very grateful.   Boxes should have the lid and box separately wrapped in bright paper, and the ‘boy’  or ‘girl’ label taped onto the outside of the box.

Please also include the donation form, which is available to download from https://www.christchurch-lancaster.lancs.sch.uk/topic/community-links  and a £2 donation in the shoebox and secure with an elastic band. Please bring to the table at the back of the Hall or drop them off at the Vicarage by Sunday 18th October, or alternatively, boxes can be dropped off at Brigg’s Shoes on the prom in Morecambe.

Thought for the week

Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God. — Ignatius of Loyola (who founded the Society of Jesus on 27th September 1540)

Eco Group Action for the Week:

Think how nature has sustained you during recent months and share this experience with someone else. You might inspire them too. 

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