11th October 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 11th October 2020

Homeless Sunday

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Oh Lord, give us more charity, more self denial, more likeness to thee. Teach us to sacrifice our comforts to others, and our likings for the sake of doing good. Make us kindly in thought, gentle in word, generous in deed. Teach us that it is better to give than to receive, better to forget ourselves than to put ourselves forward, better to minister than to be ministered unto. And to thee, the God of love, be all glory and praise, now and forever. Amen

Readings

Isaiah 25:1-9

O Lord, you are my God;
   I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things,
   plans formed of old, faithful and sure. 
For you have made the city a heap,
   the fortified city a ruin;
the palace of aliens is a city no more,
   it will never be rebuilt. 
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
   cities of ruthless nations will fear you. 
For you have been a refuge to the poor,
   a refuge to the needy in their distress,
   a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, 
   the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
   the song of the ruthless was stilled. 

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
   a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
   of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. 
And he will destroy on this mountain
   the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
   the sheet that is spread over all nations; 
he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
   and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
   for the Lord has spoken. 
It will be said on that day,
   Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
   This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
   let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

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

1 John 3:16-24

 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

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

When the Gospel is announced, we stand:

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew (25:31-40).   Glory to you, O Lord.

‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

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

Reflection (from Pat, our Reader )

The text of Pat’s reflection will be available on the website at  http://christchurchlancaster.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Sermon_201011.pdf from Sunday.

Prayers                                (from Jacqueline

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

Heavenly Father, we pray for all our sisters and brothers who are homeless. For those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations, outside high street shops and other inappropriate places. For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime. For families broken because they could not afford to pay the rent. For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in. For those who have no place to keep possessions that remind them who they are. For those who are afraid and hopeless. For those who have been let down by our social safety net.

For all these people, we pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope. We pray that those of us with warm houses not be lulled into complacency and forgetfulness.

Lord Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every person experiencing homelessness whom we meet. So that we may be empowered through word and deed, and by your grace, to bring justice and peace to those who are homeless.  As we do this for your brothers and sisters, we do it to you.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Almighty Father, bless all church leaders throughout the world.  In the shame we experience at the cover-up of historic abuse, we are truly sorry for the way the Church of England has acted, and commit to listen, learn and take action to make our churches places where all are safe from harm. Inspire and strengthen all bishops, priests, lay leaders and congregations throughout this diocese as we renew our determination to be a healthy church transforming communities.  Help us to make disciples, to be witnesses, to grow leaders, and to inspire children and young people. Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth, putting our faith into action in serving our neighbour.  We pray also for Andrea Juliet Stringer, to be baptised on 18th October, and for Darryl Flynn and Helen Rawlinson, whose banns we will hear in the coming weeks, as they prepare for their marriage. In our parish cycle of prayer we  pray for those who live and work in Hartington Street, Park Square, and those who support homeless people locally:  for the Ark, the Mustard Seed, Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service,  and for our own Co-ordinators and volunteers working here this winter, and for all the guests who will find warmth, welcome and hospitality in this place.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Father, we thank you for the action taken by the Government in moving thousands of people experiencing homelessness off the streets into hotels during the COVID pandemic; for the army of staff and volunteers from night shelter charities who continue to support those in hotels, those newly in accommodation and those who have unfortunately returned to the streets; and for the partnerships between local authorities, voluntary and charity organisations, faith and local communities, working together to end peoples’ homelessness.  Help us to be aware that our neighbour needs love, community and someone to listen to their story, and remind us that we could so easily find ourselves in their situation. Help us to commit to answer their plea for help.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Father, you established your covenant with all humankind and all living organisms;  help us to steward your creation responsibly, particularly in preventing further damage to natural habitats.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Father, you care for all your children; comfort and strengthen those in any kind of need. Sustain the increasing numbers suffering from Covid-19 in our region, and those caring for them. In our parish we pray especially for: Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Pat Brooks, Ivy Buckley, Michael Greenhalgh, Stephen Gardner, Eddie Barandino, Ann Gilbride, Sitar Rose, Thea Harris-Ellis, Helen Rawlinson, Ed Bartosinski and Patrick Hare; and we name in our hearts those whom we know to need your wholeness and healing.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Eternal Father, you welcome home those whose time on this earth is run.  We pray for the souls of all who have died recently, especially Jack Rennington, Francis Clegg, Philip Marshall, Ron Goodwin (priest), Roy Long, William ‘Bill’ Briggs, and Bill Buckley, David’s father. Hold Ivy, David and Julie, and all Bill’s family, along with Olwyne, Paul and Olwyne’s sister, in your loving arms.  Sustain them in their grief, with all who mourn the loss of loved ones, and wipe away every tear from their faces.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Therefore, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Paulinus, Wilfrid, Edward the Confessor, 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

Heavenly Father, Almighty God, Who loves all his children and is a home to those who are in need or trouble. Inspire your Church with the Spirit of Christ’s Love. Empower us to battle the injustice of homelessness with compassion and to show each person in need your kindness. Protect us and protect people, especially the most vulnerable, from Covid. Heal those who are sick. Give us your wisdom and your steadfast perseverance in this next season. And help us to live in the unity of the body of Christ, as we follow you. 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 6pm: Book of Common Prayer Evening Prayer (in the Hall)

Tuesday 4pm: Prayer4 on Zoom.

Wednesday 10:  Private Prayer in Church

Wednesday 11am:  Eucharist (in the Hall)

Wednesday 5.30pm: Evening Prayer (in the Storey Chapel, then via YouTube)

Wednesday 7.30pm PCC (via Zoom)

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 – and if you’d like to join the rota for October and November, please let Rev Carol know.  

(While it is excellent news that we expect the contractors to start work on the roof and then the ceiling very shortly, we shall 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 13th October  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:

Matthew 22: 1-14

Invite the children to plan their dream party. Where would it be? Who would they invite? What food / activities would they organise? You might want to play some party music whilst they plan and discuss. How would they feel if no-one came to their party?

How do we feel about being invited to be part of God’s kingdom?

What could we do to celebrate this?

Family Prayer

Think of someone you could invite to your home for a celebratory meal. Make an invitation together for this person and think about how you might use this opportunity to tell them about Jesus. Pray together:
Father God, help us to welcome people into our home in the same way that you welcome us into your kingdom. Show us how to tell this person that they are invited to your celebration too. 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.)

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.

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

The King of Spain has sequestered himself on his private jet until his Covid-19 results come back.

The reign in Spain stays mainly on the plane.

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

Harvest Festival – thank you!

With grateful thanks for all the gifts given this harvest season.  £115 is being sent as a donation to the Olive Branch food bank, along with the items which can’t be used by our winter night shelter. Our cupboard for the coming months is groaning with supplies! Thank you to those who decorated the Hall, and gave to the service musically too – it was a lovely occasion.

Half-term event?

If people would be interested in helping with a half-term event around the parish (flowerpot or scarecrow festival, or something else to bring us together despite ongoing lockdown), please let Rev. Carol know.

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 are now available, so please do read them, and bring along any questions and reflections to the APCM on Sunday 25th October.

Parochial Church Council (PCC)

The next Church Council meeting is on Wednesday 14th October. If there are items which you would like raised or discussed, please let Julie Buckley or Rev Carol know.  Please keep the PCC’s work and planning in your prayers.

Annual revision of the Electoral Roll

The new Electoral Roll is now available, and will be displayed with names but no contact details in line with data privacy requirements.

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.

Diocesan Conference – online 13th– 14th October

Conscious of how wearing recent months have been for many, the Diocese is hosting its #HomeGrown Conference which starts at 7pm on Tuesday 13th October, and continues during Wednesday 14th.  This is the link:

https://blackburn.anglican.org/events/589/home-grown-diocesan-conference.  There’s a mixture of events, stories, worship in different styles, as well as a choice of seminars on Wednesday morning and afternoon. Only the seminars require advance booking and being there on time.  Everything else, it doesn’t matter if you’re not free at that time or running late .. the content will still be there.  Everything will be homegrown, and EVERYONE IS INVITED – it’s not just for clergy and leaders.

DONNA WORTHINGTON ONLINE RETREATS: RESURRECTION ANGEL |Sitting on the tomb’s stone, playing a banjo, laughter in her eyes… we explore the joy and humour in a Resurrection Gospel text and create our own resurrection angel.   Sat 17th October 2-5pm OR Mon 19th October 9.30am-12.30pm

THE ABSENCE OF GOD | What is happening if we feel God is absent? Negotiating our way through this – for our own faith and also to help others going through this experience.  Tues 27th October 6.30-9pm   

INTRODUCTION TO THE ENNEAGRAM |Christian faith calls for self-knowledge; this tool, based on ancient wisdom, can be a superb way to know ourselves better.  Thursday 29th October 6.30-9pm

Book at https://www.christianretreats.live/online-retreats

Retreat in Daily Life

Please see the attached notice from Lancaster Priory, for a “retreat in daily life”, 18th-23rd October, in which one can participate either in person or online.

Community Conversations

Lancaster City Council are hosting a series of online community conversations around some of the big issues and how the city responds to them. There’s one about homelessness and housing provision this Thursday (15th October) at 6.30pm http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/the-council-and-democracy/voice-your-views/join-our-advisory-groups for the login details via Microsoft Teams. All are welcome to hear more about all the developments recently and to share your views and experiences.

The Real Advent Calendar

If you would like to order a Real Advent Calendar (or two!!) with Fairtrade chocolate, and a story booklet about Christmas – there is a sign up sheet at the back of the hall – and catalogues for other Fairtrade items.

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 20th 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.

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.

Administration Post:

A new part-time administration post (16h/week) has become available with the Befriending Service. The role will include working with homeless people and their befrienders in Lancaster. More details from Dusty Thomas – dustymtt@gmail.com.

Thank you!

A big thank you to all who joined Rev Carol and Bonnie in walking the parish boundaries, and to all who sponsored them – £300 was raised for church funds, with Gift Aid expected to bring in another £70!

Apples!

Do help yourself to apples from the church orchard and take some for friends and neighbours.

Thought for the week

Every homeless person is just a real person that was created by God and it is the same kind of different as us; they just have a different story.         Ron Hall

Eco Group Action for the Week:

Food produced at an industrial scale may be low cost but is often low grade. Be prepared to pay a little more to make sure the ‘harvest’ is a healthy one and doesn’t cost the earth. 

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