15th November 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 15th November 2020

Second Sunday before Advent

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life: grant that we, having this hope, may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear in power and great glory we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Zephaniah 1.7,12-18

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests.

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.’

Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.

The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there.

That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.

I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the Lord, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.

Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath; in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

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

Psalm 90.1-8, 12

1  Lord, you have been our refuge • from one generation to another.

2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth and the world were formed, • from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3  You turn us back to dust and say: • ‘Turn back, O children of earth.’

4  For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday, • which passes like a watch in the night.

5  You sweep them away like a dream; • they fade away suddenly like the grass.

In the morning it is green and flourishes; • in the evening it is dried up and withered.

7  For we consume away in your displeasure; • we are afraid at your wrathful indignation.

8  You have set our misdeeds before you • and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

12  So teach us to number our days • that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

1 Thessalonians 5.1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew (25.14-30).      Glory to you, O Lord.

‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

And at the end:

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

Reflection The text of Rev’d Carol’s reflection from Lancaster Priory will be available on our Sermons page.


Please remember in your prayers:

Those who are sick:  Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Pat Brooks, Ivy Buckley, Michael Greenhalgh, Stephen Gardner, Ann Gilbride, Sitar Rose, Thea Harris-Ellis, Helen Rawlinson, Ed Bartosinski, Patrick Hare, Gregory and Adrian Wright.

RIP:  Roy Long, Bill Briggs, Bill Buckley, Richard Furlong Brown, David Bamber and Philip Dodwell.

Parish Cycle of Prayer:  Those who live and work in Greenfield Street and Williamson Road, and all working in mental health care and support.

Post Communion Prayer

Gracious Lord, in this holy sacrament you give substance to our hope: bring us at the last to that fullness of life for which we long; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.   Amen

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

Prayer and Worship this week:

Sunday 10am:  Eucharist (via Facebook, streamed from the Priory – see notice below)

Sunday 6pm: Evening Prayer (via YouTube*)

Wednesday 6pm Evening Prayer (via YouTube*)

Friday 8.30am Morning Prayer (via YouTube*)

Saturday 9pm: Compline (via YouTube*)


(Please note that private prayer in church is suspended until the repair works are completed and the church has been deep-cleaned.)

Sunday 15th November – changed arrangements

Rev Carol is preaching at Lancaster Priory at their 10:00 am service (streamed live on Facebook at 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/lancasterpriorymusic/videos/?ref=page_internal and also to view thereafter).   At 11:30 we shall gather over Zoom to share a time of prayer and intercession, followed by a “virtual coffee” social get-together, via the link: https://zoom.us/j/92616559765?pwd=Ly9nR0JsMlQ3cVhqRHRTS05TZjNiZz09    Meeting ID: 926 1655 9765

Passcode: 920251

Lockdown Order of Service

Rev Carol has produced a new order of service for use during lockdown, which is sent separately with the newsletter and also available on the Christ Church website.


The latest lockdown has halted public worship for the time being. We will return to online YouTube services, with some gatherings on Zoom too – to which all are warmly welcome! Funerals can be held in church, and – once we have restored order after the building work – we may be able to open for private prayer too.

If you, or someone you know would like to receive this newsletter, either electronically or a paper version – do let Jacqueline/Rev Carol know and we will endeavour to keep in contact with people.

The order for Spiritual Communion (to follow at home, along with the Sunday service) is available on the church website – and if there are other prayer resources, books or websites which you would find helpful, please say. The Daily Hope phone line continues – 0800 808 8044

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.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have also called on the nation to pray each day at 6 pm during November.  Prayers for each week and themes for each day can be found at


Prayer and Support

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.

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.

Christ Church Telephone Tree

We’re starting up a telephone tree to help keep in touch with one another this winter. If you’d like to make or receive an occasional call for a chat, please let Jacqueline/Rev Carol know, including your preferred ‘phone number (which stays confidential).

Zoom Prayer

Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 24th  November 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)

Advent Course – Living in Hope

This Advent, we’ll be running a 4-session online course on the theme of ‘Living in Hope’. Produced by the York Courses Team, it promises to be a ’chance to have a think about what it means to live well, and to die well.  We are people of history and people of hope.  We look back to the Bible to see where we’ve come from, and we look forward in hope to what lies ahead’. If you’re interested in joining one or all of the sessions, please let Pat/Carol know, and a booklet will be delivered to you.  The course will start on 29th November, at 4pm each Sunday.

The Real Advent Calendar

If you would like a Real Advent Calendar (or two!!) with Fairtrade chocolate, and a story booklet about Christmas – there are still a few left. Please contact Julian and Audrey Davies.

Advent Windows (and Doors)

Advance notice for all crafters and creatives to create an Advent Window or Door this year. The idea is to decorate a front window, or your front door (or both!) to create a whole advent calendar around the parish, that can be seen by passers by on dark evenings. Stars, nativity scenes, angels, lights, wreaths – the theme is up to you!  Starting from the 29th November, do post your photos on our Facebook page or send Rev Carol a copy!

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.

A Call to Pray and Give. 

Bishop Julian has written to all the churches in our Diocese of Blackburn, inviting us to a time of prayer and giving from the 12th-29th November, in preparation for Advent. Evening Prayer will be shared online at 7pm each day, as well as special times of prayer for young people and children. We will pray for God’s guidance as we seek to rebuild from the pandemic. Bishop Julian asks each of us to consider making a one-off, sacrificial gift to the church in this time of crisis to help support this and other churches in need and to glorify God – and a special envelope will be available for this. 

PCC meeting

The church council meets next on 18th November – if there are any issues or items you’d like discussed, please let Julie B/Rev Carol know.

Living in Love and Faith

Some of you may be aware that the national Church of England are looking at the changing social attitudes about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage – and how the Church can learn how these questions fit within the bigger picture of humanity that reflects the image of our creator God. Resources have been developed for individual churches to discuss, which aim to build greater understanding of the spectrum of views held by different Christians. The hope is that these discussions will feed into a national church debate about where the Church of England is called to serve in future, and how to heal past wounds. For the full text, see https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/living-love-and-faith/living-love-and-faith-book

More details about Christ Church’s response to follow, and in the meantime if you have any reflections or reactions, please do let Rev Carol know.

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

Guy tells the talent agent, “My dog can talk.”

Talent agent: “Prove it.”

Guy, to dog: “How does sandpaper feel?”

Dog: “Rough, rough!”

Children’s Church

Matthew 25:14-30

Tell the story of how one man started with a red paperclip and managed to trade it for a house!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_red_paperclip.  He took one small thing and exchanged it each time for something slightly bigger/better. You might think you only have a small gift, but whatever small thing we do for God, he can make it into something much greater than we can imagine. 

What different gifts/personalities do we have?

Why did God make us different from each other instead of exactly the same?

Family Prayer

Challenge each person to use one of their gifts to make or do something to say thank you to God, e.g. bake cupcakes, clean the kitchen, build with Lego, draw a picture. Bring everyone’s efforts together as a ‘thank you’ offering to God. Take a photo and put it somewhere you will see it all week. Pray together:

Father God, thank you that you make us different so we can bless each other in the same way you bless us. Amen.

Forest Church (online)

Our neighbours at Dolphinholme are hosting a monthly online Forest Church on the second Saturday of each month. More details on their website and Facebook pages. https://dqowbenefice.co.uk.

Craft Bags

Advent begins on the 29th November this year. The time of watching, praying and waiting for Christ feels especially apt this year. We have craft bags available for primary aged children with lots of things to help get ready – please email/Facebook me with your address and we’ll deliver them. Suitable for ages 3+ as there are some beads/split pins.   Rev Carol.

Children’s Gathering

‘Unlikely Heroes’ in the Bible  is the theme of the new Bible Podlets produced by the team at the Diocese. If you’d be interested in an online family get together to study these together – please let Rev Carol know. https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/podcasts/bible-podlets/


Bonus Ball

Julie Tinnion is organising a this to help raise funds for the church. The idea is that you pick and pay for a number, and if your number is picked each week in the National Lottery bonus ball, you win £30. Other funds go to church funds. email julie.christchurch@googlemail.com

 or phone Julie T on 07854 844394

Twelve Days of Advent – Make and Bake Sale

From the 24th November, we will be holding a twelve day sale of made and baked goods. We will advertise items on our Facebook page, with a catalogue available too. Reserve your items, and then come and collect them from the makers on Sunday 6th December – in aid of church funds. If you would like to donate made or baked items – please let Julie Buckley know: buckleys@live.co.uk

Christmas Raffle

This year, we will be holding a Grand Christmas Raffle to raise funds for the church. If you wish to donate a prize, or would be willing to ask a local business for a voucher, please chat with Julie Buckley. We’ll sell the tickets in advance, and will draw it on December 20th.


Church ceiling update – help with cleaning!

The plastering and painting are complete.  Alleluia!

Please come to help on Tuesday 17th November:  9:30 help with furniture moving; then 10:30 cleaning – please bring furniture polish and polishing cloths.  

The Evening Drop In (Shelter Update!)

Thanks to Jan and Clive who joined us for our service for Homeless Sunday a fortnight ago – and for their update on what’s happening with the Night Shelter this winter. We cannot open for guests to sleep overnight – as Covid restrictions prevent multiple people sharing accommodation. However, we plan to open from 8:30-9.30pm each evening, offering hot drinks and food, as well as a warm welcome and space for guests to chat and receive support, in a Covid-safe way. This will evolve as the restrictions change – so please keep the team in your prayers.

Lancaster City Council assure us that they will accommodate anyone who is homeless over the winter months (01524 582257 (9-5 M-F) /67099 (out of hours). Edward Street continue to provide support 10am-2pm Mon-Fri, and the Ark are running on Friday 4-5pm, also based at Edward Street. 

Donations of the following tinned/packaged goods would be gratefully received: 

macaroni cheese; meatballs; chilli/curry – meaty ones; hot dogs; meaty soups; beans with sausages (but we have loads of baked beans!); biscuits, cake, crisps;  rice pudding.

And a plea from Edward Street: 

 ….who are beginning an appeal for their Christmas Shelter and general funds as they prepare for the winter season and their work with homeless people in Lancaster. They are very grateful for past support and donations of food. If you are able to give financially: cheques payable to LDHAS, or bank transfers to 40-52-40, 00031967. If you can Gift Aid your donation – details from LDHAS, Edward Street, Lancaster, LA1 1QH. 


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/

Gregson Community Association

The work on its Lend-a-Hand food and poverty project will continue and any requests for help and support should be sent to l.heitzmann@gregson-community-association.org.uk . All requests will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Please get in touch if you are struggling with anything at all.  All offers of non-perishable food will still be accepted by the Corner Shop on Ullswater Road. to Helen and Paul for continuing with this.

Lancaster City of Sanctuary:

With Christmas approaching, many in the refugee community will feel very isolated; the pain of being separated from family and friends is unimaginable to most of us. Mandy Whitehouse suggests offering each of the 34 houses a Christmas hamper, as a token of Lancaster’s welcome and care. If you can offer to fill a few boxes, Mandy will send a list of suggested items for inclusion, and hope also to have one special gift per person (toiletries, stationery, winter clothing, but value below £5). Banana boxes from local supermarkets would be suitable. The filled boxes would be picked up before Christmas and delivered. Please let dorotheawilliamson@hotmail.com know how many boxes you could help with.

Mandy is also collecting artificial Christmas Trees and decorations to distribute to our asylum seeker families and single people, so if you have any spare available, she can collect them or you can them drop off  – contact mandywhitehouselancaster@sky.com.

Knitting for Syria

The Eco-Group are planning to use lockdown creatively and are going to make a woollen quilt to send to Syria where many refugees are living in tents and are exposed to the winter cold . The aim is to use any spare wool to knit 6-inch squares which will be crocheted together to form a blanket or blankets. The squares can be any colour, stitch type or thickness of wool as long as they are roughly 6 inches square. Help from anyone in the congregation would be much appreciated Do contact Margaret Lyth on 60387 to help or to offer donations.

CraftAid Christmas gifts and cards

Normally we would have had a FairTrade stall to sell Christmas gifts, cards, biscuits, socks, tea, coffee, etc. The CraftAid shop is closed down, owing to the work on St Thomas’ Centre, but Corina Redmore is still selling on a ‘phone and Covid-safe collect basis from her home in Portland Street. Please ring Corina on 37565.

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Thought for the week

My Catholic faith drilled into me a core truth – that every person on earth is equal in rights and dignity, because we are all beloved children of God.  Joe Biden

Eco Group Action for the Week:

Consider giving books for Christmas such as Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist or David Attenborough’s Life on our Planet.

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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

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

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.