13th December 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 13th December 2020

Third Sunday of Advent/Toy Service

Collect (Prayer of the week)

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare your way before you: grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in your sight; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Isaiah 61.1-4,8-11

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

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

Psalm 126

Refrain: The Lord has indeed done great things for us.

1    When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream.

2    Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with songs of joy.

3    Then said they among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’

   The Lord has indeed done great things for us, and therefore we rejoiced.

The Lord has indeed done great things for us.

5    Restore again our fortunes, O Lord, as the river beds of the desert.

   Those who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy.

7    Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed, will come back with shouts of joy, bearing their sheaves with them.

The Lord has indeed done great things for us

1 Thessalonians 5.16-24

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

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 John   (1.6-8,19-28).     Glory to you, O Lord.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said,

‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

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

Reflection from Rev’d Carol.


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, Gregory and Adrian Wright.

RIP:  David Bamber, Philip Dodwell, Paul Bagat, Shaun Beresford and Jessie Crawley.

Parish Cycle of Prayer:  Those who live and work in Garnet Street and Kentmere Road, and for local shops and businesses.

Post Communion Prayer

We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts; kindle in us the fire of your Spirit that when your Christ comes again we may shine as lights before his face; who is alive and reigns now and for ever.  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 (in the Lady Chapel)

Wednesday 6pm Evening Prayer (in the Storey Chapel)

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 other sessions – all welcome!  Join via Zoom:

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.

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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)


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).

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 22nd 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

Thank you to everyone who responded so generously to the Bishop’s Advent appeal for funds – nearly £1.5k was raised (including the Gift Aid we can reclaim). This will help us pay some of our Parish Share this quarter. (This is the money we give to the Diocese to help us pool resources such as clergy stipends, lay and ordained training, advice on things like safeguarding, legal matters and buildings, and support for our Church schools and children’s work.)

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.

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.

Lancashire Sings Christmas

will be broadcast on Thursday 17th December on Radio Lancashire at 7pm.  We have given it the theme “From Baubles to Bubbles” and this year’s programme will feature good news stories “Baubles” of how church groups have been working to bring hope and relief to our communities in lockdown (Bubbles) There will be a carol sheet available on the websites which can be printed off or (recommended) viewed on devices. You can register your intent to tune in at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/churches-together-in-lancashire-11092781704

Children’s Corner

(Activity sheet also available in church)

John 1:6-8,19-28

Are you afraid of the dark? Why/why not?

Why is Jesus described as a light? How can we show that light to other people? Why is Jesus described as a light? How can we show that light to other

Consider putting a string of colourful battery-operated Christmas lights in a jar outside your house to show that this is a house where the light of Jesus can be found. If anyone asks about them, explain what they mean and maybe invite them to come to church.

Family Prayer

Father God, as these lights shine in the darkness, help us to be like lights pointing to you. Amen.

Giggle (or Groan) of the weeksuggestions welcome!

A truckload of Vick’s vapour rub overturned on the highway.  Amazingly, there was no congestion for eight hours!

Advance notice of our Christmas services this year!

Please do invite friends and family!

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).

Deanery Synod Christmas Quiz

All are warmly invited to join colleagues across the Deanery for an entertaining Christmas Quiz 7-8 pm on Monday 14th December via Zoom. Our Quiz Master will be the Rev’d Chris Krawiec (Morecambe Parish Church and stand-up star). The Zoom link will come round in the next few days. There’s more information in the attached Deanery Bulletin.

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.

Confirmation: preparation and a date for your diary

On 14th March 2021, Bishop Julian will be visiting us for our Confirmation service. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in being confirmed (and/or baptised) – please have a chat with Rev Carol. Children need to be in Y6 or above.  There will be preparatory classes starting in January, so there’s time to think it over. Confirmation is a special service – of receiving God’s affirming Spirit, of declaring your own faith and desire to follow Jesus, and for some, preparing to receive Holy Communion for the first time.

If you’d be interested in helping with Confirmation preparation, either as a one off or for the whole course, Rev Carol would love to hear from you! 

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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 – thank you!

Thank you to the team of makers, bakers, crafters, sellers and supporters who made this such a success! It was a lovely way to start being together again, and of celebrating what talent we have in the church! Over £400 has already been raised, and there will be a stall at the back of church this week if you missed out last week.

Christmas Raffle

We are 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. Please see Jane Lippitt to buy (and/or help sell) tickets. The draw will be on December 20th after the Christingle Service.


Toy Service

This year’s Toy Service is today, and 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.

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. 

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, put the money in an envelope marked “Vouchers” or give it to Rev. Carol or Jacqueline, today, please.  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 are 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. The Drop-In will close for it’s Christmas break 23rd December-4th January, and there will be provision at Edward Street. 

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. 


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

Sprucing up the Church for Christmas -22nd December

All help gratefully received to clean and decorate the church ready for Christmas at 10am on Tuesday 22nd.

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Thought for the week

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.   Albert Einstein

Eco Group Action for the Week:

As your Christmas cards arrive, remember to save your stamps for recycling in our box for RNIB.

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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.