6th December 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 6th December 2020

Second Sunday of Advent

Collect (Prayer of the week)

O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever.  Amen.

Readings

Isaiah 40.1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’

All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’

See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

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

Psalm 85.1-2,8-13

Refrain: Show us your mercy, O Lord.

   Lord, you were gracious to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

2    You forgave the offence of your people and covered all their sins.

I will listen to what the Lord God will say, for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful, that they turn not again to folly.

   Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Show us your mercy, O Lord.

10  Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other;

11  Truth shall spring up from the earth and righteousness look down from heaven.

12  The Lord will indeed give all that is good, and our land will yield its increase.

13  Righteousness shall go before him and direct his steps in the way.

Show us your mercy, O Lord.

2 Peter 3.8-15a

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him.

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   (1.18)          Glory to you, O Lord.

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” ’,

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

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

Reflection from Pat, our Reader.

Prayers                               

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 Mill Street and Borrowdale Road, and in local care homes, including Moorside Hall and Dolphinlee House.

Post Communion Prayer

Father in heaven, who sent your Son to redeem the world and will send him again to be our judge: give us grace so to imitate him in the humility and purity of his first coming that, when he comes again, we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith; 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 (in the Lady Chapel)

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

Sunday 6pm: Advent Evening Prayer

Wednesday 6pm Evening Prayer

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 Course – Living in Hope -continues today!

Our online Advent course continues this evening, 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’. Please let Pat/Rev Carol know you’re interested, and a booklet will be delivered to you. Don’t worry if you missed last week’s session – all welcome!   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 there are several booklets, free to good homes, at the back of church.

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

COVID-19 NEWS

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.

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.

Return to church

As we return to church – *please only come* if you feel happy to do so, there’s no pressure to return. If you have any symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate – please let someone know, and stay at home. In church, we ask you to:

  • gel your hands on arrival, and before receiving communion
  • Wear a face covering throughout (unless exempt, or at the moment of receiving communion)
  • Fill church seats from the front, and keep a 2 metre distance between each household bubble
  • Touch only the surfaces and papers that you need to (the order of service is yours to bring with you each week)
  • Follow the direction of the stewards in seating, receiving communion, and leaving church.

There will be no offertory taken during the service, rather a retiring collection.

Please book on Eventbrite as follows:

Sunday 8:30 Eucharists (select dates)

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/112091542822

Sunday 10:30 Eucharists (select dates)

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/112092136598

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).

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

With the Tier Three restrictions in place, 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)

A Call to Pray and Give

Bishop Julian has written to all the churches in our Diocese of Blackburn.  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, ideally this Sunday, 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

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.

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. 

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!

Carol singing – save the date!

Come and help share some Christmas cheer by singing carols for our local nursing home residents. Monday 21st December 3pm at Moorside Hall and then 4pm at Dolphinlee House – you don’t need to be Aled Jones to join at either or both homes! We’ll be singing outside at a sociable distance, so please bring winter woolies, and a torch (or lantern). Song-sheets provided.

Children’s Corner

(Activity sheet also available in church)

Mark 1: 1-8

Have you ever been lost? What does it feel like when we think we’re on the right path and have to go a different way?

Is there anything God might want us to change about the way we live, and do it a different way?

Family Prayer

Gather together any old toys you have finished playing with that you could give away. Also take some slips of paper and write on any bad habits or wrong attitudes you want to ‘throw out’. Put the slips of paper in a bowl and pray together:

Father God, help us to get rid of anything that gets in the way of our walk with you. Prepare us to receive all the good things you want to give us instead. Amen.

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

Q.  Who was the most high-tech prophet?

A.  Moses – He used a tablet.

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

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christingle-service-tickets-130240832837

Christmas Eve: 4pm Crib Service

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christmas-eve-crib-service-tickets-130241649279

11.30pm Midnight Mass

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/130723554671

Christmas Day: Eucharists at 8.30 and 10.30am

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/130725562677

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

Eco-Church Group

The group is meeting on Tuesday 8th December at 7pm – more details from Joyce Lynch.

PCC Meeting

The Church Council meets next on 16th December. If there are items, reflections or ideas which you’d like to raise, please speak to Julie Buckley or Rev Carol.

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.

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

FUNDRAISING

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 TODAY!

This twelve-day sale of made and baked goods in aid of church funds is now complete.  Come to the Hall after the 10:30 service and before 2 pm to collect the items you reserved.  If you haven’t already reserved items, there will be extras available for people to browse and buy on the day!  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.  Tickets are £2 each, with several hampers and vouchers for local businesses up for grabs. See Jane Lippitt. The draw will be on December 20th after the Christingle Service.

PLEAS OF THE WEEK  

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 is at the back of church, and Audrey will place an order ready for Epiphany – all contributions gratefully received, by mid-December please. 

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.

Channel your inner Marcus Rashford!

Many local families will be in particular need, especially over the coming Christmas holidays, for all kinds of reasons, and through no fault of their own.  There is particular pressure this year owing to redundancies or lost wages resulting from the pandemic, for example.  If you would be willing to make a cash donation towards Asda vouchers to help with the cost of food for families who find themselves in need in our local schools, please put the money in an envelope marked “Vouchers” or give it to Rev. Carol or Jacqueline, by Sunday 13th December.  Your generosity will be much appreciated. 

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 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. 

Foodbanks

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/  

Now that lockdown has lifted, we will resume collections for the Olive Branch in church – please add to the black container by the door.

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.

A plea from the Sewing Cafe

A community art response to lockdown, working with refugees and asylum seekers

Whether you want to just share your experiences, produce an embroidered piece of your own, or wish to help by embroidering someone else’s thoughts, we would love to hear your stories. We are looking at ways in which you ‘survived’ lockdown, and anything in particular that helped you such as:

·       How did you get through the days, either at work or home?

·       Did you learn anything new?

·       How did other people help you?

·       What sort of things did you/do you still enjoy doing?

·       Anything that made the lockdown easier.

If you enjoy embroidery, and wish to make your own piece for the project, then we can supply you with the details to do this. Please include your name, age, role (if applicable) with your response.  The closing date for responses is December 15th 2020. Enda O’Regan  www.SewingCafeLancaster.com

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

Thought for the week

Pay attention to the people God puts in your path if you want to discern what God is up to in your life.           Henri Nouwen

Eco Group Action for the Week:

Choose some presents that make this Christmas a season of goodwill to all people and the planet.

.

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

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.

.