31st January 2021

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 31st January 2021

Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Epiphany 4)

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty, whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple, in substance of our flesh: grant that we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts, by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Malachi 3.1-5

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

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

Psalm 24.

Refrain: The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

1    The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.

2    For he has founded it upon the seas and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep.

The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

   ‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, or who can rise up in his holy place?’

   ‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have not lifted up their soul to an idol, nor sworn an oath to a lie;

5    ‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a just reward from the God of their salvation.’

6    Such is the company of those who seek him, of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

7    Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

   ‘Who is the King of glory?’ ‘The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord who is mighty in battle.’

   Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

10  ‘Who is this King of glory?’ ‘The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.’

The Lord of hosts: he is the King of glory.

Hebrews 2.14-18

Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

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

Today the Lord is presented in the Temple in substance of our mortal nature.


Today the Blessed Virgin comes to be purified in accordance with the law.


Today old Simeon proclaims Christ as the light of the nations and the glory of Israel.

Alleluia. Praise to Christ, the light of the world.

When the Gospel is announced the reader says:

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Luke   (2:2240)          Glory to you, O Lord.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

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

Post Communion Prayer

Lord God, the springing source of everlasting light, pour into the hearts of your faithful people
the brilliance of your eternal splendour,
that we, who by these kindling flames

light up this temple to your glory,
may have the darkness of our souls dispelled, and so be counted worthy to stand before you in that eternal city where you live and reign, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  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, Sue Taylor, Sophia Holden, Callum Stephenson.

RIP:  Jessie Crawley, Jen Shepherd, Barrie Leck, Jean Moffatt, Edward Thistlethwaite, Lis Dey.

Parish Cycle of Prayer: 

Those who live and work in Honister Road and Ambleside Road,  and for our schools and all who are home-schooling.

Prayer and Worship w/c 24th January

Sunday 10:30am: Candlemas Eucharist (on YouTube*) – bring your own candle – followed by Zoom “coffee” (https://zoom.us/j/92076612292?pwd=OGJzMFJiaVlsUklSNm5DcFZnakVFdz09)

Sunday 6:00 Evening Prayer (on Zoom  https://zoom.us/j/92062839983 Meeting ID: 920 6283 9983)

Tuesday 4 pm Prayer 4 via Zoom – see below

Wednesday 6 pm Evening Prayer (via Zoom – see below, and also on YouTube*)

Friday 9:30 am Morning Prayer (on Facebook **)

Sunday 7th February 10:30am: Eucharist (on YouTube*) followed by Zoom “coffee” (as above)

Sunday 7th February 6:00 pm Evening Prayer via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/92062839983 Meeting ID: 920 6283 9983

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

** The Christ Church Facebook page (you don’t need to sign in) is www.facebook.com/christchurchlancaster

Christ Church on Zoom

Wednesday Evening Prayer will continue to be uploaded to YouTube as now, but you are also most welcome to join the services live on Zoom, at 6 pm: https://zoom.us/j/99756144246?pwd=c3YxNVRlTFkrL251UHNpMjZFdFJSdz09

Meeting ID: 997 5614 4246 Passcode: 370844

And also to share in ….


Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 2nd February 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)

Lent study course: Caring for Creation

“The human race is facing its greatest challenge: the threat to the environment and climate change. Faith in our Creator God should enable us to see what is actually happening.” Brian Davies, course author.

This new York course consists of five sessions:

1. The Environment; 2. Global Warming and Climate Change; 3. The Age of Humans; 4. Coming out of Denial and Facing Crisis;  5. Faith, Hope and Love.

They will be held via Zoom each Sunday at 4pm from Sunday 21st February until 21st March. If you would like to attend some or all of the course, please let Rev. Carol know, and she will let you have a copy of the course booklet.

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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.

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.  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.

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Archbishops’ Call to Prayer 6pm

From Monday 1st February, our Archbishops are inviting all Christians to pray at 6pm each day in February – for those who have died in the pandemic, those who are ill and caring for them, for those who are grieving, isolated, or struggling at this time. You can read the letter here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/prayer-nation#thursday      There’s a special prayer:

Gracious God, as we remember before you the thousands who have died, surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion. Be gentle with us in our grief, protect us from despair, and give us grace to persevere and face the future with hope in Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.

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Prayers for our new appointment!

Thanks to the generous funds provided by the Nile Street Trust, the Gregson Institute, and our own diocese, we are advertising for a Children, Youth and Families Co-ordinator, who will work for 20 hours a week in the parish, beginning after Easter. We hope they will help us reach out and welcome more children and their families into the church, and will work with Rev Carol to nurture their spiritual growth. Please pray for the right person to come and join us, for all those involved in the appointment process, and for yourself – whether you might be able to help out in some way. 

If you’d like to apply, or know someone who should: https://pathways.churchofengland.org/search/category-blackburn/page-1

Children’s Corner

Candle Meditation Create a calm quiet zone in your room and invite the children to come and sit in it. Light a candle (placing it a safe distance from the children) and ask them to watch the flame flickering. Encourage the children to breath in and out slowly as they focus on the candle. As they do say, “Sometimes waiting is easy. Sometimes waiting is hard. Sometimes we don’t want to wait. As we sit here watching the flame maybe you could tell God, quietly, about the things you find it difficult to wait for”. Leave some time then blow the candle out as you say ‘Amen’.

What is something you are looking forward to? Is it easy to wait for this?

What do you think God wants us to look forward to? Is it easy to wait?

Lord, when we find ourselves waiting please give each of us the strength to wait hopefully as Anna did, and to wait in trust, as Simeon did. Amen

Giggle (or Groan) of the weeksuggestions welcome!

What did one candle say to the other?

You goin’ out tonight?

Abide Bitesize – live-streamed youth gathering

If you have secondary-age young people at home, here’s an invitation to join the Abide event, livestreamed over mealtimes this Friday 5th and Saturday 6th February– a chance to share faith with others across the diocese – and some giveaways! https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/abide-one/

Growing Christ Church

In the life of any church community, there are different seasons. As Christ Church comes out of the Covid-pandemic, Rev’d Carol and the PCC would like to know what you’d like to see grow and flourish in the church community in coming years. Please take a few moments to pray and think about what you’d like to see or do at church, and what you’d like Christ Church to be like in five years’ time so that we can plan for this! You can add your name if you’d like to say more, and all replies (anonymous or named) will be treated in confidence. Please click on https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/L9DPD6R to begin – and do share with friends and family.


The next PCC meeting is on 10th February. If there are things which you would like to raise, or questions you’d like discussed, please let Rev Carol/Julie Buckley know.

Christian Aid Conference

Darren Staunton, our regional Christian Aid Officer, is inviting us to the virtual Christian Aid conference coming up in February; it looks really interesting with a wide variety of sessions and is well worth a look. If you’re interested in supporting Christian Aid locally, Darren himself is running a talk on Tuesday evening Feb 23rd 19:30 – 21:00 (and repeated on the Friday morning at 10 am as well): ‘ ‘Gr Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire Supporter Session’ click the link to book.

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The Olive Branch Foodbank

During daylight hours, there’s a collection box outside the Vicarage door for donations to the Olive Branch, please leave tins, toiletries, and packets and these will be passed on to their distribution centre on the Lansil estate.  Or you can give money for them to buy what is needed: https://www.the-olivebranch.org.uk/donate/

Smalls for All

If you’re planning a spring clear out, please consider www.smallsforall.org, who collect good quality, clean second-hand bras, and new pants (all sizes) to send out to countries in Africa, where women and girls are at higher risk of rape if they are not wearing such items. They will also take donations of men’s pants (new packets only). I’m not planning a church collection (!) But if you’d like to donate, please post your smalls to Smalls for All, Five Sisters Business Park, Westwood, West Calder, EH55 8PN

Squares for Syria

Thanks to everyone who has so far knitted 6” squares for the Eco-Group project. Sami has sewn them to make this beautiful blanket – and there’s another nearing completion! Donations to Margaret Lyth please  (60387).

The Evening Drop In (Shelter Update!)

Supplies of tins or pots of rice pudding, and any clean sleeping bags in good condition, are especially welcome at present!

Our Evening Drop-in is open for anyone who is homeless or vulnerably housed, to come for a hot drink, hot meal, supplies of food and clothing, and a warm welcome, every evening 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). 

Let’s BeFriends – Befrienders 

Let’s BeFriends is a new project to create and nurture relationships between individuals who are or have been homeless or in recovery, and those who have a good understanding and/ or lived experience of these pressures and constraints. You need to be 18 years and over, live in easy access to Lancaster and Morecambe area, can offer a minimum of 3 hours a week, able to plan and attend social outings, and understand and agree the non-negotiable boundaries.

For more information, contact Julie directly by email atjulieannridgway@gmail.com, or call her on 07515 480280. Alternatively, you can contact Mark or Louise at Lancaster CVS (markwaddington@lancastercvs.org.uk or louisemunro@lancastercvs.org.uk). 

Lancaster District – Climate Change & Environment

If you’re interested in what can action can be taken to reduce carbon emissions in the Lancaster district and how you can get involved, you’re invited to join Lancaster City Council’s Climate Change & Environment Cabinet Advisory Group, on Monday February 8th, 7pm-8.30pm. You can download a copy of thePeople’s Jury recommendations from the City Council’s website. To register:


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Visions of 2020 Banner

Everyone is invited to share their unique vision of 2020 in a community banner.  We are looking for your lockdown experiences, through text, poems, pictures, family projects etc, which can be incorporated into a design for a textile hanging.   Please send your ideas, thoughts to Marion Cowan:  marion_cowan@hotmail.com  Marion is planning to have small squares 15 x 15cm (plus 1cm margin all round), large squares 30 x 30cm  (plus 1cm margin all round), for anyone who wants to start sewing.

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Thought for the week

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.  Buddha

Eco-Group Action for the Week:

Pledge to buy food that has been ethically produced and look out for credible certification e.g. Red Tractor Scheme, Soil Association Organic Standard, or RSPCA Assured. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/yourfood/knowyourlabels/

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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

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.

The Archbishops’ prayer for each day in February

Gracious God, as we remember before you the thousands who have died, surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion. Be gentle with us in our grief, protect us from despair, and give us grace to persevere and face the future with hope in Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.