20th/27th December 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sundays 20th December 2020 & 27th December

Fourth Sunday of Advent & St John the Evangelist

Fourth Sunday of Advent 20th December

Collect (Prayer of the week)

God our redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son: grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour, so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our judge; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


2 Samuel 7.1-11,16

Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.’

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.

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

Psalm 89.1-4,19-26

Refrain:   Truly the Lord is our shield.

   My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: with my mouth will I proclaim your faithfulness throughout all generations.

   I will declare that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness as firm as the heavens.

3    For you said: ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant:

 “‘Your seed will I establish for ever and build up your throne for all generations.”

Truly the Lord is our shield.

19  You spoke once in a vision and said to your faithful people:  

‘I have set a youth above the mighty; I have raised a young man over the people.

20  ‘I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.

21  ‘My hand shall hold him fast and my arm shall strengthen him.

22  ‘No enemy shall deceive him, nor any wicked person afflict him.

23  ‘I will strike down his foes before his face and beat down those that hate him.

24  ‘My truth also and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his head be exalted.

25  I will set his dominion upon the sea and his right hand upon the rivers.

26  ‘He shall call to me, “You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation;’’

Truly the Lord is our shield.

Romans 16.25-27

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

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 Luke   (1.26-38)    Glory to you, O Lord.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

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

Post Communion Prayer

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised saviour: fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

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Feast of St John the Evangelist/First Sunday of Christmas  27th December.


(Prayer of the week)

Merciful Lord, cast your bright beams of light upon the Church: that, being enlightened by the teaching of your blessed apostle and evangelist Saint John, we may so walk in the light of your truth that we may at last attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ your incarnate Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Exodus 33.7-11a

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each of them, at the entrance of their tents and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tents. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent.

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

Psalm 117

Refrain:    Alleluia.

   O praise the Lord, all you nations; praise him, all you peoples.

2    For great is his steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever. Alleluia.

Refrain:    Alleluia.

1 John 1

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

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   (21.19b-25).     Glory to you, O Lord.

(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

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

Post Communion Prayer

Grant, O Lord, we pray, that the Word made flesh proclaimed by your apostle John may, by the celebration of these holy mysteries, ever abide and live within us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:


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, Thomas Platt.

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

Parish Cycle of Prayer: 

W/c 20th December: Those who live and work in     Keswick Road and Bowness Road, and for all who live and work in our parish.

W/c 27th December:  Those who live and work in Ambleside Road and Patterdale Road, and for our MP and local council in the year that lies ahead

Prayer and Worship wks/c 20th and 27th December

Please do invite friends and family! All welcome!

Sunday 20th 8:30am: Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Sunday 20th 10:30am Eucharist (in church, then uploaded to YouTube afterwards*)

Sunday 20th 4:00 pm: Christingle Service (in church) – see below

Tuesday 22nd 4:00 pm Prayer4 – see below

Wednesday 23rd 6:00 pm Evening Prayer (in the Storey Chapel)

Thursday (Christmas Eve) 4:00 pm Crib Service – see below

Thursday 11:30pm Midnight Mass – see below

Friday 8.30am Christmas Day Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Friday 10.30am Christmas Day Eucharist

Sunday 27th  8.30am Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Sunday 27th 10.30am Eucharist (In Church, then uploaded to YouTube afterwards)

Sunday 27th 6pm: Eucharist for the Holy Innocents – remembering those who find Christmas tough.

Wednesday 30th 6pm Evening Prayer (TBC)

1st January No Friday Eucharist this week.

Sunday 3rd January 8.30 am: Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Sunday 3rd January 10.30am: Epiphany Eucharist (then uploaded to YouTube)

Sunday 3rd January 6.30pm Joint Evensong with the Priory (streamed via the Priory Facebook page, or to attend in person, please book at https://www.trybooking.com/uk/events/landing?eid=15702&)

For the Christingle and Crib Services (ideally also for Midnight Mass), please let us know you’re coming via Eventbrite:



Crib Service


Midnight Mass


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

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Advent Course – Living in Hope – today at 2 pm!

Our online Advent course finishes this afternoon, on the theme of ‘Living in Hope’, and today’s theme is ‘Heaven’. All welcome – don’t worry if you’ve not made previous sessions!  Last session at 2pm today – please note the change of time!    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

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)

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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

I’m still able to offer pastoral support, especially in times of emergency. If you would like to receive Communion at home over Christmas, (with Covid precautions in place), please contact me by phone or email in the first instance.  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

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.)

Carol singing – tomorrow!

Come and sing carols – 3pm at Moorside Hall, 4pm at Dolphinlee House – all welcome to either or both.  Please dress warmly as we’ll be singing outside (sociably distanced) for the residents.  If you have one, please bring a torch!    Song-sheets provided.

New music

Our very own composer, Marlene Philips is featured in this month’s Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland’s Hymns for Advent and Epiphany – do take a look at their website and have a listen!  https://hymnsocietygbi.org.uk/resources/hymn-of-the-day-advent-2020-to-epiphany-2021/

Toy Service

Thank you for all your generous donations of toys, which went to the Children and Family Wellbeing Service based at Lune Park Park Children’s Centre at Ryelands Park Children’s Centre on Tuesday, ready for distribution this Christmas.  Four car-loads of lovely toys were taken across.  Last Sunday, we prayed for the families who will receive them.  – you have given them a great blessing – thank you!

Asda Vouchers appeal

80 Asda vouchers were distributed to families receiving free school meals in the parish. What a host of blessings!  Thank you to all who contributed.

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).

Children’s Corner 20th December

(Activity sheet also available in church)

Luke 1:26-38

Ask your child what they did during church today.

Tell them what you learnt during church today.

Are there any changes coming up in our lives? How do we feel about them?

How can we learn to trust God when unexpected change happens?

Family Prayer

Go out for a familiar walk or drive, but instead of taking your usual route, change direction. Thank God for all the different things (e.g. Christmas lights, decorations) and people you see. When you get home pray together:

Father God, thank you that you want to include us in your special plan. Help us to trust you when life takes a different turn than we expected. Amen.

Children’s Corner 27th December

(Activity sheet also available in church)

Luke 2:22-40

What are we like at waiting for things? e.g. queuing, birthdays, etc.

Can we think of anything we had to wait a long time for that was really worth it in the end? Did God teach us anything through that waiting?

Family Prayer

Fill a glass with lemonade and drop a raisin in it. Watch it rise to the top with the bubbles, then sink back down again, over and over. This reminds us that even when we feel low and things are difficult, God will always lift us up again. Pray together:

Father God, we thank you that you are faithful through all the ups and downs of life. Help us to be patient and trust your timing. Amen.

Giggle (or Groan) of the week (20th December)- suggestions welcome!

Q.  Why couldn’t Mary and Joseph join their work conference call?

A.    Because there was no Zoom at the inn.

Giggle (or Groan) of the week (27th December)-

Did you hear that production was down at Santa’s workshop?

Many of the workers had to elf-isolate!

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! 

Advent Windows (and Doors)

Don’t forget to post your photos of your Advent windows on our Facebook page –  or send Rev Carol a copy!

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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!

To all our crafters, cooks and makers for all your hard work and artistic talent for our Advent Sale, and to everyone who supported it in its lockdown format! We raised around £600 for church funds – and there are still a few items available if you need some last-minute Christmas gifts!

Christmas Raffle – draw today!

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, as well as wonderful other prizes. Please see Jane Lippitt to buy tickets. The draw will be made today after the Christingle Service.

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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. 

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!)

Our Evening Drop-In will close on Wednesday for the Christmas break. Alternative festive provision will be at LDHAS on Edward Street this year, while St T’s rebuild their church hall. Our Evening Drop-in will restart on the 4th January. Edward Street continue to offer daytime support 10am-1pm

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). 


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.

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.

Advance thank you!

And thank you to everyone who helped get the church ready for Christmas, and to all our musicians, artists, cleaners, decorators, servers and stewards over the Christmas season!

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Thought for the week

‘[Mary] does not say “I am not worthy.”  ….  She never asks if, whether, or why!  ….. It takes the entire Bible to work up to one perfect vessel that knows how to say an unquestioning yes to an utterly free gift.’   Richard Rohr

Eco Group Action for the Week: 20th December

Christmas is a time for celebration but also of great waste. Buy only what you can use and afford. 

Eco Group Action for the Week: 27th December

Remember to use our swap box in church for any unwanted gifts. 

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Key contacts:

Vicar: Revd Carol Backhouse 942105 revcarolbackhouse@gmail.com

1 East Road, Lancaster, LA1 3EE

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.