3rd January 2021

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 3rd January 2021

Christmas 2/Feast of the Epiphany

Collect (Prayer of the week)

O God, who by the leading of a star manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: mercifully grant that we, who know you now by faith, may at last behold your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen.


Isaiah 60.1-6

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.

Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come.

They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

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

Psalm 72.10-15

Refrain:    The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.

10  The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.

11  All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall do him service.

The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.

12  For he shall deliver the poor that cry out, the needy and those who have no helper.

13  He shall have pity on the weak and poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

14  He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight.

The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.

15  Long may he live; unto him may be given gold from Sheba; may prayer be made for him continually and may they bless him all the day long.

The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.

Ephesians 3.1-12

This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given to me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow-heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in 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 Matthew    (2.1-12)    Glory to you, O Lord.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” ’

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

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

Post Communion Prayer

Lord God, the bright splendour whom the nations seek: may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light discern the glory of your presence in your Son, the Word made flesh, 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, Thomas Platt.

RIP:  Paul Bagat, Shaun Beresford, Jessie Crawley, Jen Shepherd.

Parish Cycle of Prayer: 

Those who live and work in Firbank Road and Derwent Road; and for our Queen and government

Prayer and Worship w/c 3rd January

Please do invite friends and family! All welcome!

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

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

Sunday 6:30 pm Joint Evensong with Lancaster Priory

(streamed via the Priory Facebook page, or to attend in person, please book at https://www.trybooking.com/uk/events/landing?eid=15702&)

Tuesday 5th 4:00 pm Prayer4 – see below

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

Friday 9.30am Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Sunday 10th January 8.30 am: Eucharist (in the Lady Chapel)

Sunday 10th January 10.30am: Eucharist (then uploaded to YouTube*)

Sunday 10th January 6.00 pm Evening Prayer (in the Lady Chapel)

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

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Zoom Prayer

Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 5th January s 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.

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/

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

(Activity sheet also available in church)

Finger Labyrinth Print out a finger labyrinth for everyone. Show the children how to use their finger to slowly follow the labyrinth path around to the centre. Explain that as they ‘walk’ the labyrinth it is a chance to sit quietly, breathe deeply and focus on God. Challenge them to take the finger labyrinth home and use it to focus on God whenever they want to.

Do you find it easy to follow directions or do you often go the wrong way?

What or who guides you in your life?

As a family, draw a signpost onto a large sheet of paper, with lots of arrows on it pointing in different directions. Think about the things that you need help and direction with at the moment. Write these onto the arrows of the signpost. When you have finished, look at the signpost together and pray together: Lord be our guide. Amen

Giggle (or Groan) of the weeksuggestions welcome!

Q.  Why is it best to think of 2020 like a panto?

A.  Because eventually it’s behind you.

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! 

Routes of Faith

This course, for lay people who want to learn more about their Christian faith, restarts in January. The module ‘Following Jesus through the New Testament’ starts on Tuesday, January 12, via Zoom, and will run for five weeks.  More details of the course and the programme leaflet are on the Diocesan website at


and you can book at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/routes-of-faith-following-jesus-through-the-new-testament-tickets-131895592267


The next PCC meeting is on 13th. January.  If there are things which you think the church council should be doing or discussing, please let Rev Carol or Julie Buckley know. 

Thank you!

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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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

Christmas Raffle

The Grand Christmas Raffle raised £436 for church funds.  Many thanks to Jane Lippitt and Julie Buckley for organising it all.

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Readings and Prayers?

If you’d like to help with reading or with the prayers of intercession in coming months, or if you might be interested but would like more information, please let Valerie, Rev Carol or Pat Allen know. Full (and fun!) training will be given.

Request for Welcomers!

We really need more people to join our team of sidespeople for the 8.30 and 10.30 Sunday services. 

At the moment, this involves greeting people at the door as they come in, making sure they have signed the Track and Trace form, and then guiding them to the pews. During Communion the congregation are guided to take Communion to ensure a flow around church that maintains social distancing. After the service, the pews need to be wiped with a cleaning spray.  The commitment would be once every 4 or 5 weeks (or even less frequently depending on how many people volunteer). You would always be doing it with another person.   If you think you could help with this important ministry of welcome, please speak to Jane Lippitt at church or ring her on 07930979503 or e-mail her at lippittjane@gmail.com    Many thanks.  Jane

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, as soon as possible, 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 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.

The Evening Drop In (Shelter Update!)

Our Evening Drop-in will restart on Monday 4th January, 8:30 – 9:30 pm.  Edward Street continues 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). 

Knitting for Syria

The Eco-Group are planning to use the pandemic restrictions 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.

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Thought for the week

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.   John Milton

Eco Group Action for the Week:

The environmental impact of intensive farming and agricultural carbon emissions is a cause for concern at a global level. Pledge to make a positive difference by buying less and choosing better, preferably organic, from your local butcher or farm shop.

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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.