29th November 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 29th November 2020

Advent Sunday

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Isaiah 64.1-9

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence — as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil — to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.

You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity for ever. Now consider, we are all your people.

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

Psalm 80.1-8,18-20*

Refrain: Turn us again, O God;  show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, you that led Joseph like a flock;

2    Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim, before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.

3    Stir up your mighty strength and come to our salvation.

4    Turn us again, O God;    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

5    O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?

   You feed them with the bread of tears; you give them abundance of tears to drink.

   You have made us the derision of our neighbours, and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

8    Turn us again, O God of hosts;   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

18  Let your hand be upon the man at your right hand, the son of man you made so strong for yourself.

19  And so will we not go back from you; give us life, and we shall call upon your name.

20  Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts;   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

1 Corinthians 1.3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

When the Gospel is announced the reader says:

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Mark   (13.24-37)          Glory to you, O Lord.

‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

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

Reflection from Pat, our Reader.


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, Gregory and Adrian Wright.

RIP:  Bill Buckley, Richard Furlong Brown, David Bamber, Philip Dodwell, Paul Bagat and Shaun Beresford.

Parish Cycle of Prayer:  Those who live and work in Dalton Road and Nun Street, and for the emergency services including fire, police, ambulance, coastguard and mountain rescue teams.

Post Communion Prayer

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

Prayer and Worship this week:

Sunday 10:30am:  Eucharist (via YouTube*, followed by “coffee” at 11:30am via Zoom)

Sunday 6pm: Advent Readings and Carols (via Zoom – see below)

Monday 6pm: Eucharist for St Andrew (via YouTube*)

Wednesday 6pm Evening Prayer (via YouTube*)

Friday 9.30am Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Saturday 9pm: Compline (via YouTube*)

Sunday 8:30am: Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Sunday 10.30am Eucharist (in church, then uploaded to YouTube afterwards*)

*The Christ Church YouTube channel is at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPoAvGj4K9085RV8zo0ZS9Q

Advent Service – Tonight at 6 pm

**Tonight** – A special service of readings, music and prayers for the Advent Season, all welcome! Join on https://zoom.us/j/93702115248 Meeting ID: 937 0211 5248   One tap mobile: 01314601196,,93702115248#

Dial by your location  0131 460 1196 United Kingdom 

Advent Course – Living in Hope -starting today!

Starting at 4 pm tonight, 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.  Join via Zoom on

https://zoom.us/j/96822702278?pwd=VEtmUi81eEdITmJlSHBlemNLYTZGZz09    Meeting ID: 968 2270 2278. Passcode: 318588.   One tap mobile:  +443300885830,,96822702278#

Dial by your location: 0131 460 1196

‘A Child Shall Lead them’

If you’re looking for a way to pray and reflect at home this Advent, our Diocese has produced a collection of daily readings and meditations. These will be on the Blackburn Facebook page, and Rev Carol has several booklets, free to good homes, so do ask for one

Advent Hope Service – Churches Together

Readers from St Bernadette’s, the Methodist church, St Paul’s and the URC, with a 16-voice choir. Available on St Paul’s Scotforth YouTube site from 4.00pm this Advent Sunday and available throughout Advent.


The latest lockdown ends on 2nd December.  Although Lancashire will be in Tier 3, HM Government will allow public worship to resume after that date.  Our first service in church will therefore be on Friday 4th December, and our first Sunday services will start on 6th December, carefully socially distanced:

Please book on Eventbrite as follows:

Sunday 8:30 Eucharists (select dates)


Sunday 10:30 Eucharists (select dates)


Services will also be available online, with some gatherings on Zoom too – to which all are warmly welcome!  Funerals, weddings and baptisms can be held in church, and we hope to be able to open for private prayer on Sundays 2-4 pm (see below).

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

Although further 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 8th December 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)

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 preparation for Advent. Until 6th December, we’re invited to 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. If you are able to make a special Advent donation to Christ Church, please mark your envelope or reference your  bank transfer as “Giftday”.  Account name: Lancaster Christ Church PCC; Sort-code: 01-54-90; Account number: 06309941

New courses for Christian life and leadership

Ever thought you might like to ‘do a little more’ for the church?  Beginning in January, the Diocese is running an online study course for people who are interested in taking their faith further, and learning more about Christian life and leadership. There will then be a further module available in Lancaster (Children’s ministry, Preaching, Worship leading, or Youth ministry) if there’s a particular area you’d like to put things into practice. https://www.blackburn.anglican.org/authorised-lay-ministry. Do chat to Rev Carol if this might be something you’re curious about or called to!

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. 

Children’s Church

Mark 13:24-37

What does it feel like when you have to wait for something you really want?

How do we feel about the idea that Jesus will return one day?

Help the children to make a candle holder out of clay, to hold a tealight (or LED version). Light it each evening when it goes dark, to remind them that Jesus is our hope and light. We can look forward to his return in the same way that we look forward to Christmas, knowing it will come but having to wait patiently.

Family Prayer

Father God, thank for the wonderful promise that Jesus will return one day. We pray that this joyful hope will sustain us through difficult times while we wait. Amen.

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

Q. Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars?

A. Their days are numbered

Advent Windows (and Doors)

Try creating 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 today, you can decorate for a few days, or for the whole of Advent – it’s up to you. Do post your photos on our Facebook page or send Rev Carol a copy!

Advance notice of our Christmas services this year!

Please do invite friends and family!

Sunday 13th: Toy Service at 10.30am Eucharist*

Sunday 20th: Usual 8.30 and 10.30am Eucharists,*

4pm Christingle Service


Christmas Eve: 4pm Crib Service


11.30pm Midnight Mass


Christmas Day: Eucharists at 8.30 and 10.30am


For all these services, please let us know you’re coming via Eventbrite (*links in the COVID-19 box for the Sunday Eucharists).

News from Barbara and Martin Johnson

…. who have recently moved to Fife to be closer to their daughter. Barbara writes ‘please tell the congregation how much I shall miss Christ Church and all it has meant to me, you will be in my thoughts. Abdie Kirk which I shall be attending with my daughter will not be the same (just a little bit dour!). With my very best wishes and prayers for you all.   Barbara Johnson’.   Please pray for Barbara and Martin as they start their new life in Scotland.

Gardening Thank You

… to everyone who came to tidy the church yard on Sunday afternoon!

Virtual Coffee

All are welcome for a “virtual coffee” social get-together at 11:30am on Sunday, via the link:


Meeting ID: 930 8231 1194     Passcode: 652158

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +


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

This twelve day sale of made and baked goods in aid of church funds, started last Wednesday. Items are advertised on our Facebook page, and a catalogue is available. Reserve your items, and then come and collect them from the makers on Sunday 6th December. Queries: Julie Buckley: 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.


Epiphany Gifts

Each year, we invite people to make a gift of items for the sacristy, including candles, bread, wine and incense for services. A list will be available shortly, and Audrey will place an order ready for Epiphany – all contributions gratefully received, by mid-December please. 

Church Sitting

If you would be willing to help church open for private prayer on Sunday afternoons 2-4pm, please let Rev Carol know.

The Evening Drop In (Shelter Update!)

Thanks to Jan and Clive who joined us for our service for Homeless Sunday – 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. 

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/  

While the lockdown is in place, there will also be a collection box outside the Vicarage for donations to the Olive Branch – tins and dried foods gratefully received.

Toy Service

This year’s Toy Service will be on 13th December, when we will collect toys for distribution at Lune Park Children’s Centre on Ryelands Park this Christmas. Toys should be either new, or in good clean used condition, capable of being sanitised.. *No* soft toys please! Please leave your gift unwrapped – and donations may also be left at the Vicarage.

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:

Mandy Whitehouse suggests offering each of the 34 refugee and asylum-seeker 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.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Thought for the week

Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern. Saint Teresa of Calcutta  

Eco Group Action for the Week:

Plan ahead for an easy win with no glitter wrapping and cards which can be recycled.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +

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.