19th & 26th December 2021

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sundays 19th and 26th December 2021

Sunday 19th December 2021

Fourth Sunday of Advent


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.


Micah 5.2-5a

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.  Therefore he shall give them up until the timewhen she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. 
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers.

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

Psalm 80.1-8

Refrain:  Turn us again, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel,  you that led Joseph like a flock;

   Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim,  before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.

3    Stir up your mighty strength and come to our salvation.

4 Turn us again, O God; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved

5    O Lord God of hosts,  

how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?

6    You feed them with the bread of tears;  

you give them abundance of tears to drink.

7    You have made us the derision of our neighbours,  

and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

   Turn us again, O God of hosts;   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Hebrews 10.5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 
in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings you have taken no pleasure. 
Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God” (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’ 
When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (1.3955).    Glory to you, O Lord.

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

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

Post Communion: 

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.

Sunday 26th December 2021

First Sunday of Christmas


Almighty God,

who wonderfully created us in your own image

and yet more wonderfully restored us

through your Son Jesus Christ:

grant that, as he came to share in our humanity,

so we may share the life of his divinity;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen. 


1 Samuel 2.18-20,26

Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod. His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, ‘May the Lord repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to the Lord’; and then they would return to their home. Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favour with the Lord and with the people.

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

Psalm 148

Refrain:    O praise the name of the Lord.

   Alleluia. Praise the Lord from the heavens;  

praise him in the heights.

   Praise him, all you his angels;   praise him, all his host.

3    Praise him, sun and moon;  

praise him, all you stars of light.

   Praise him, heaven of heavens,  

and you waters above the heavens.

   Let them praise the name of the Lord,  

for he commanded and they were created.

   He made them fast for ever and ever;  

he gave them a law which shall not pass away. 

O praise the name of the Lord.

7    Praise the Lord from the earth,  

you sea monsters and all deeps;

8    Fire and hail, snow and mist,  

tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word;

9    Mountains and all hills,  fruit trees and all cedars

10  Wild beasts and all cattle,  

creeping things and birds on the wing;

11  Kings of the earth and all peoples,  

princes and all rulers of the world;

12  Young men and women, old and young together;  

let them praise the name of the Lord.

13  For his name only is exalted,  

his splendour above earth and heaven.

14  He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants,  the children of Israel, a people who are near him. Alleluia.

O praise the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3.12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (2.4152).    Glory to you, O Lord.

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour. 

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


Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home:

help your Church to live as one family,

united in love and obedience,

and bring us all at last to our home in heaven;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen

Prayer and Worship this fortnight: 

Sunday 19th December

8:30 am Holy Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)

10.30 am Parish Eucharist (in church and then uploaded to YouTube) 

2:30 pm Messy Church for families (in the Hall)

4 pm Christingle Service (in church)

(No 6 pm service) 

Monday 20th December

2:30 pm Carol singing at Moorside Hall

4 pm Carol singing at Dolphinlee House

Wednesday  22nd December

2 pm Games Afternoon in the Hall 

5:30 pm Meditation, followed by

6 pm Evening Prayer (Storey Chapel)

Friday 24th December – Christmas Eve

9:30 am Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)

4 pm Crib Service in church

11:30 pm Midnight Mass

Saturday 25th December – Christmas Day

8:30 am Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)

10:30 am Parish Eucharist in church

Sunday 26th December – Boxing Day

10:30 am Parish Eucharist in church

Please note: No 8:30 or 6 pm services.

29th and 31st December – no services.

Sunday 2nd January – Epiphany

8:30 am Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)

10.30 am Parish Eucharist (in church and then uploaded to YouTube) 

No 6 pm service.

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


Please remember in your prayers:

Those who are sick:  Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Ivy Buckley, Stephen Gardner, Ann Gilbride, Thea Harris-Ellis, Thomas Platt, Janet Ball, Dorothy Eidsforth, Sitar Rose, Heather McFadden, Maddison Crompton, Irene Forrester, Galiba Sijarić

RIP:   Betty Hilton, Pat Barker, James Cleminson

Parish Cycle of Prayer:  

Those who live and work in our parish: Keswick Road and Bowness Road; for our Parish Safeguarding officer

Messy Church 2.30 – 4 pm today!  

A form of church for children and adults alike, which involves creativity, celebration, and hospitality.  So we’ll be getting crafty, celebrating God in prayer/song and eating a meal/snack together. Especially for families who are perhaps nervous about coming to church or for whom “normal” timings don’t work.  Do invite friends and neighbours!

Christingle Service 4pm today!

Our Christingle Service is today  at 4pm – everyone is invited as we welcome the light of Christ once again. The service always has a practical element in supporting the work of the Children’s Society in our prayers and gifts. If you’re able to, please bring back your  candle collecting boxes, (filled!). christingle.org.uk will give you some ideas for prayer too.

Games Afternoon, Wednesday 22nd Dec 2 – 4 pm

A couple of hours playing games/doing activities in the hall, to break up the week running up to Christmas. All welcome.  Contact Julie Tinnion for more information.

Zoom Prayer

Tuesday 4th January 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)

Night Shelter

Christ Church Winter Night Shelter is currently suspended until further notice. If you are homeless and in need of support, please contact Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service (LDHAS) on Edward Street, Monday-Friday 9am-1pm 01524 842008 https://www.ldhas.org.uk or Lancaster City Council’s Housing Department 01524 582257, or, out of office hours: 01524 582000.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Rev’d Carol.

Christmas Provision for Homeless People

LDHAS on Edward Street will be open as normal on Christmas Eve.  On 25th-29th December, open 11 am – 1 pm for a takeaway service.  Normal service on 30th and 31st December, closed 1st – 3rd January.

Tiddlers Group

The Tiddlers group runs each Friday,  All pre-school-age children and their carers (parents/grandparents, etc.) are very welcome to come for activities, a chat, etc., at 10:30 am in the Hall.  Please contact Julie Tinnion for more details.

Children’s Church

Children’s Church continues to meet regularly during the 10:30 Eucharists on Sundays (or in Christ Church: All Together services).  We look forward to seeing you and your children/grandchildren there!

Christ Church: 70 trees for the Treebilee

The Eco-Group are encouraging each of us to sponsor or plant a tree as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. You can either arrange your own sponsorship, through organisations such as the National Trust or Woodland Trust: for £5 per tree  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/plant-a-tree; or £6 https://www.treesforcities.org/get-involved/donate.  Or become a member of the Woodland Trust, which will count as five trees or buy membership as gifts.  For those who just want to put their donation in the box next to the tree, add a leaf, and the church will buy a tree from the National Trust for every £5 donated.  There will be a display at the back of church to show how many trees have been planted in the name of Christ Church – so if you make your own arrangements, please add your name to it!

Christ Church Crafting: 

… will meet next on Tuesday 11th January at 11:30am in the Hall – all welcome! Bring your own craft project, or make a pennant for the community bunting. We will be looking at creating decorations/hangings for one of the Advent Christmas trees on 4th December, so bring ideas too.  Future meetings will be on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the same time. Contact Marion Cowan for further details.


… to everyone who gave new or good-condition used toys or helped with transporting them to Ryelands Sure Start Centre this past week. The three car-loads of toys we took across will be distributed to families who would otherwise go without Christmas presents this year – your generosity will make a real difference. 

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House needed – URGENT!

I’m hoping for a Christmas miracle. We are in desperate need of a 3 or 4 bedroom property for a refugee family currently in Lebanon. They comprise a mother, father and three children, two of whom are profoundly disabled. They are living in horrendous circumstances in a Lebanese refugee camp and cannot come to the UK unless we find a suitable property that can be adapted.  We can pay for full adaptations but are in search of a landlord with a property who is willing to offer this family a home. From Rebecca Novell, Lancashire County CouncilRebeccaJoy.Novell@lancashire.gov.uk

Epiphany Gifts

As usual at this time of year, we ask you to consider making a donation towards the cost of the supplies we use at our services in church all year round.   The wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; it would be great if you could contribute towards the cost of the incense, candles, votive lights, Communion wafers, etc., which are all part of our worship.  Please sign up on the list at the back of church, or contact Jacqueline if you have any questions.

The Olive Branch Foodbank 

… is in particular need of tins – including meat, fish, vegetables and pies., as well as donations of rice (not pasta or baked beans).  All other items, including toiletries, are also gratefully received! 

Or you can give money for them to buy what is needed: https://www.the-olivebranch.org.uk/donate/

Recycling Sunday – 2nd January

Please bring your blister packs, used dental products (brushes, toothpaste tubes, etc) and crisp packets on 2ndJanuary, ready for recycling.

Supporting Christ Church 

If you would like to support Christ Church’s work and worship regularly, or you already do – please consider giving by Direct Debit. Christ Church is now taking part in the Parish Giving Scheme, which allows us to offer direct debit as an option. This national Scheme takes a lot of hassle out of claiming gift aid, and ensures that any donation is covered by guarantees. It also allows you to easily review how much you give depending on circumstances. There are no costs or overheads to the parish. For more information, the QR code takes you to our page on the scheme:

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Online at www.parishgiving.org.uk

By telephone 0333 002 1271 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.  Postal forms available on request.  For any of these methods our PGS code 030603240 ensures that your gift goes to our church.

Church Repair Fund

Our Church Repair Fund helps keep our buildings in good condition so that they can continue to be used for ministry and outreach in the years to come. There are several big projects on the Porch, East Wall, and Hall, which are in need of urgent work.  If you’d like more details about what is going on, please pick up a leaflet – and if you are able to make a donation, there are envelopes available. If you’re able to give of your time and talents to plan or help with some fundraising events – please keep an eye on the notices for more details!

You can also contribute online via the Give a Little website: https://givealittle.co/campaigns/1c7889a9-7ef8-4730-a84a-2d434726c909

Legacies at Christ Church. 

Gifts in Wills are an important part of Christian stewardship, and dedicating a gift is one way to thank God for blessings received. If you’re considering writing a Will and leaving a gift to the church, there is a lilac leaflet available near the offertory box which explains more. The PCC have recently passed a Legacy Policy to ensure that gifts are used well to support Christ Church’s mission and ministry, whilst taking into account a donor’s wishes. If you wish to speak to Rev’d Carol or Jacqueline Stamper in confidence, or for further details, please see www.churchlegacy.org.uk.

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Giggle (or Groan) of the week – suggestions welcome!

Q. What did the mistletoe do when it went on a long holiday?
 A. It took a leaf of absence.

Thought for the week

Joy, prayer and gratitude are three ways that prepare us to experience Christmas in an authentic way.                                                     Pope Francis.

Eco-Group Thought/Action for the Week 

Remember to save stamps from cards and letters and recycle or reuse wrapping paper and packaging..

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Meeting up

The clergy are available for pastoral support and spiritual direction, please don’t hesitate to be in in contact.  If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time or is seriously ill, please let us know as soon as possible, to arrange prayers, home communion, a hospital visit, or anointing of the sick. 

Prayers & our Newsletter

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. 

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. 

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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 reader@christchurchlancaster.org.uk.

Churchwarden: Ms Jacqueline Stamper 64083 churchwarden@christchurchlancaster.org.uk

Parish Safeguarding Officer:  Ms Jane Lippitt 07930 979503 safeguarding@christchurchlancaster.org.uk

Children, Youth & Families Coordinator: Mrs Julie Tinnion 07749 489623 children@christchurchlancaster.org.uk 

Nightshelter Co-ordinator: Ms Jan Norbury 07547 717 060   coordinator.nightshelter@gmail.com

Parish Secretary: Mrs Julie Buckley buckleys@live.co.uk 01524 37229

Hall Bookings: hall@christchurchlancaster.org.uk

07890 351855

Christ Church School  Ms Emma Simpson 60955

COVID-19 – latest update from Rev’d Carol

Now that regulations on Covid precautions have changed, much advice has been issued by the government, national church and local health authorities, with each Vicar being responsible for plans and arrangements in each church building. Christ Church asks that everyone continues to: 

  • Wear a face covering within the building, unless medically exempt
  • Keep a safe distance – with some pews remaining closed to help this  
  • Use the Track and Trace code, or the paper sign-in sheet for each service
  • Use hand gel on arriving in the building, and before receiving communion

In addition: 

At the 1030 service, communion will be received from the rail; please kneel or stand to receive. Afterwards, please return to your seat via the Lady Chapel.

The common cup (chalice) may be shared *if desired*. In present circumstances, you may prefer not to do so, confident in the knowledge that to receive the sacrament of communion in one kind is to receive it in full.  

If you do wish to receive from the chalice, please remain at the rail after receiving the bread. The person administering will wear a face covering, and please *do not* touch the chalice with your hands, and *do not* intinct your wafer (dip it into the wine). The chalice will be wiped with an alcohol sanitiser between use.

As a church community, we are called to act for the benefit of all, and especially the most vulnerable. We wish our church community to be safe, accepting and welcoming for all, regardless of health, or vaccine-status. 

As regulations start to tighten again, I strongly encourage everyone to continue to take precautions and continue the good habits we have got into over the months. 

All of us will feel differently about this.   I’m more than happy to listen and hear your own views on this, and talk through what will help you feel safe and continue to be part of the church in coming weeks.

There is a range of quieter and busier services at Christ Church, so you may wish to consider something different to your usual pattern if it helps you to feel safer.  

More guidance from the Diocese and the national church may appear in the coming days.  If any of the above change in consequence, we will let you know quickly, but please be assured that the measures put in place by our churches have resulted in remarkably few transmissions of the virus in places of worship across the country, and we know of none so far at Christ Church.