14th February 2021

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 14th  February 2021

First Sunday before Lent

Collect (Prayer of the week)

Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen.


2 Kings 2.1-12

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’

Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’

Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

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

Psalm 50: 1-6

Refrain:    Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

1    The Lord, the most mighty God, has spoken and called the world from the rising of the sun to its setting.

2    Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth; our God comes and will not keep silence.

   Consuming fire goes out before him and a mighty tempest stirs about him.

4    He calls the heaven above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:

5    ‘Gather to me my faithful, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.’

6    Let the heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge.

Refrain:    Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

2 Corinthians 4.3-6

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Mark   (7.24-30)          Glory to you, O Lord

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

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

Post Communion Prayer

God our creator, by your gift the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise, and the bread of life at the heart of your Church: may we who have been nourished at your table on earth be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross and enjoy the delights of eternity; 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, Thomas Platt, Sue Taylor, Sophia Holden, Callum Stephenson, Rev’d Cindy Rigney.

RIP:  Barrie Leck, Jean Moffatt, Edward Thistlethwaite, Lis Dey, Teresa Bolton, Steven Hugins.

Parish Cycle of Prayer: 

Those who live and work in Ennerdale Close and Ridge Lane; and for Lune Park Sure Start Children’s Centre, Ryelands.

Prayer and Worship this week:

Sunday 10.30am Eucharist via YouTube*, (with Zoom coffee at 11:30 am https://zoom.us/j/92076612292?pwd=OGJzMFJiaVlsUklSNm5DcFZnakVFdz09   

Meeting ID 920 7661 2292.   Passcode:  865469)

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

Ash Wednesday: 11am Eucharist (via YouTube*)

Wednesday 7pm Ash Wednesday Service via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/92062839983 Meeting ID: 920 6283 9983

Friday 9.30 Morning Prayer, on our Facebook** page

Saturday 9pm Compline via YouTube*

Sunday 10.30am Eucharist via Youtube*, with Zoom coffee at 11:30 am – link as Sunday

Sunday 6pm: 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

Lent 2021

If you’ve not yet received your Lent at Home bag, please let Rev Carol know – there are some ideas for how to spend Lent, in prayer, in study, and in caring for God’s creation. Lent begins on Wednesday 17th, and there will be services at:

11am Eucharist (via YouTube)

Special 7pm Ash Wednesday Service via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/92062839983 Meeting ID: 920 6283 9983 with music and reflection. All welcome.

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. To join the course:
https://zoom.us/j/98903615188?pwd=a01QRFR1LzczM1JHSnZTdWt1WkJ0dz09  Meeting ID: 989 0361 5188 Passcode: 218739    Dial in 020 3481 5237 (same meeting ID and passcode)

Blackburn Diocese Lent Course

The Diocese is running the Looking out in Lent course https://www.blackburn.anglican.org/diocesan-lent-course-looking-out-in-lent.  The course takes place across five Wednesdays, beginning on February 24, at 7.30pm – 9pm on each occasion.


Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 16th 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)

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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

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Archbishops’ Call to Prayer in February 6pm

Our Archbishops have invited 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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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.

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

We can still see glimpses of God today, and maybe you and the children have already seen some? Share with them some of the times, you or other leaders, have glimpsed God, and encourage the children to share their examples if they wish to.

What are some of the beautiful, amazing things you have seen this week?

Are there places you notice God in your everyday life?

Each write out a list of the things you did over the last week. Once you have done that, look at the lists together. Did anyone notice a glimpse of God during the week? Take highlighter pens or bright felt-tips and mark the times when you have glimpsed God.

Pray together:

Amazing God, we thank you for the joy of experiencing glimpses of you. Help us to be a reflection of your light and love when we share that joy with others. Amen

Giggle (or Groan) of the weeksuggestions welcome

Did you hear that story about the biggest mountain in the world?  I couldn’t get over it.

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.

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.

Two courses from Lancaster Cornerstone

For more information and the Zoom details contact Simon Stewart at: simoncornerstonecafe@gmail.com

Or visit the Cornerstone Community Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1793115127568804

Getting Through the Grief

There is no good time to lose someone you care about. But this is the worst time. Most of the normal ways we get through these times have been taken away. So grieving is tough.  We can feel alone and like we’re going mad.

It doesn’t have to be this way: Come and meet others who understand what you’re going through; Come and say what you want about how you are feeling; Come and be listened to; Come and explore ways to cope. Starting 19th February 11 am (and weekly thereafter)

Children’s Society – Christingle Appeal

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported this year’s Children’s Society Christingle Appeal. Even with Covid restrictions we enjoyed a Make your Own Christingle Service on Sunday 20th December. Special thanks to those from Christ Church who donated towards the costs of producing the Christingle bags, those who gave money via the Candle Collections and to all the staff, families and children at Christ Church School. The appeal raised a fantastic £533.45, exceeding all our expectations at the end of a difficult year. This money will help the Children’s Society to continue their work with disadvantaged children.

With grateful thanks,  David and Julie Buckley

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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). 

Lancaster Council Community Conversations on Food Insecurity

Thursday 18th February 6:30pm-8pm.  The evening will be hosted by Robyn Thomas, Centre Manager, Stanley’s Community Centre.  We will be launching the Lancaster District Food Poverty Alliance Action Plan and hearing from people who have lived through the experience of food insecurity. We will be looking at what specific actions are a priority for the community and how we can take these forward by involving the community in the design and implementation of solutions.  Led by FoodFutures, North Lancashire’s sustainable food partnership, we will take some time to look to the future and visualise what success looks like for our local communities.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/community-conversation-supporting-action-on-food-insecurity-tickets-140055404485

Visions of 2020 Banner

The first contributions to the banner have come in: boats in the COVID-19 storm, gardens, family, bubbles, walks, church and of course Zoom. If there are pictures, memory, words or music that got you through 2020, please keep the ideas coming; everyone can contribute through any medium.

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.

Christ Church Creatives Group

Christ Church Craft group, initially by Zoom, is for anyone who would like to join to share crafts and ideas, where we can support each other and put together ideas for projects such as the Visions of 2020 banner. Anyone interested and would like to start crafting could contact me and I will organise an initial zoom meeting.  Marion. marion_cowan@hotmail.com

Eco-Church Group

The Eco-Group meets on Tuesday 16th at 7pm on Zoom – please contact Joyce Lynch for the link.

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Thought for the week

God places us in the world as his fellow workers – agents of transfiguration. We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice, so there will be more compassion and caring, that there will be more laughter and joy, that there will be more togetherness in God’s world.                 Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Eco-Group Action for the Week:  

Try to join the Lent study course, Caring for Creation, as detailed in the newsletter. It consists of five weekly sessions to be held on Zoom at 4pm from Sunday 21st February until 21st March. Please contact Rev. Carol if you would like to join any of the sessions and she will let you have a copy of the course booklet.

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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.