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20th September 2020

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 20th September 2020

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Collect (Prayer of the week)

God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit upon your Church in the burning fire of your love: grant that your people may be fervent in the fellowship of the gospel that, always abiding in you, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; 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.

Readings

Jonah 3.10 – 4.11

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.

The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’

But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’

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

Psalm 145.1-8

Refrain:    Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.

   I will exalt you, O God my King, and bless your name for ever and ever.

2    Every day will I bless you and praise your name for ever and ever.

   Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is beyond all searching out.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.

   One generation shall praise your works to another and declare your mighty acts.

   They shall speak of the majesty of your glory, and I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

6    They shall speak of the might of your marvellous acts, and I will also tell of your greatness.

7    They shall pour forth the story of your abundant kindness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

   The Lord is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.

Philippians 1.21-30

For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew        (20.116)      Glory to you, O Lord.

‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’

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

Reflection (from Pat, our Reader)

The text of Pat’s reflection will be available on the website at  http://christchurchlancaster.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Sermon_200920.pdf on Sunday.

Prayers                                            (from Jacqueline)

Gracious Lord and Father, we will bless you and praise your name for ever and ever.  Help us to live our lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Loving Lord, give grace and strength to all your people to stand firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel. Bless our Archbishops Justin and Stephen, our Bishops Julian, Philip and Jill, Archdeacons David and Mark, and Revd Carol and Pat here at Christ Church. Inspire us as your family here both to live out and share the story of your abundant kindness and love that our neighbours will be encouraged to come to know Jesus as their Saviour and their friend.    In our parish cycle of prayer we pray for those who live and work in Stone Row Head and Coleman Drive; and for those living in sheltered accommodation and those supporting them.   Today, we pray for Nathan Clissold and Miriam Parker as their Banns are published, and as they prepare for their wedding day.   We pray too for James Cowey, to be baptised next Sunday 27th.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Merciful Lord, Jesus taught us that the last will be first, and the first will be last; guide the world’s leaders to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable. Bring peace, reconciliation and justice to areas of conflict, including in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Belarus, and support the work of aid agencies in Beirut, on Lesbos, and other places of extreme need. Sustain those tasked with dealing with the pandemic, whether national or local government, the NHS, the care system, or other emergency and frontline services, and those researching a vaccine against COVID-19.  We pray for our county and region, as we enter a period of tighter restrictions, and especially for those who will find this extremely difficult to cope with.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Creator Lord, strengthen our commitment to protect your creation for future generations.  Guide the Brazilian government to understand and accept the urgency to prevent and extinguish the wildfires in the Pantanal and the Amazon region, and to stop the destruction of the ecosystems in the rainforests and wetlands, and the damage to carbon dioxide absorption and oxygen production.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Suffering Lord, comfort and heal all those in any kind of pain. Give wisdom and skill, patience and sympathy to those who care for them.  Grant to all who are lonely, anxious or depressed a knowledge of your will and an awareness of your presence.  We pray especially for: Olive Niccolls, Youngblood McCray, Ernie Wilson, Pat Brooks, Bill and Ivy Buckley, Michael Greenhalgh, Angie Topham, Richard Impey, Stephen Gardner, Eddie Barandino, Ann Gilbride, and Sitar Rose;  may they know the embrace of your loving and sustaining arms in their time of need.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Risen Lord, at the end of the day you treat all your labourers with equal generosity.  We pray for the souls of Jack Renninson, Francis Clegg, and Philip Marshall, Ron Goodwin (priest) and Roy Long, as they enter into their reward.  May they rest in peace and rise in glory. 

Comfort those who mourn the loss of loved ones and ease their pain.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Therefore, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Matthew, Hildegard, and all the saints, we commend ourselves and all creation to Your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Post Communion Prayer

Keep, O Lord, your Church, with your perpetual mercy; and, because without you our human frailty cannot but fall, keep us ever by your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Some suggested hymns you may like to follow at home:

Prayer and Worship this week:

Sunday 8.30am:  Eucharist

Sunday 10.30am:  Eucharist (then uploaded to YouTube)

Sunday 2-4pm:  Private Prayer in Church

Sunday 4.30pm Study course (via Zoom)

Sunday 6pm: Evening Prayer with prayers for the healing and wholeness of creation  (in the Hall)

Monday 3.30pm Children’s Church (in the Hall – please pre-book by Saturday 9pm)

Monday 6pm: Eucharist for St Matthew (via YouTube)

Wednesday 10:  Private Prayer in Church

Wednesday 11am:  Eucharist (in the Hall)

Wednesday 5.30pm: Meditation

Wednesday 6pm:   Evening Prayer (in the Storey Chapel, then via YouTube)

Friday 8.30am:  Morning Prayer (YouTube)

Saturday 9pm:  Compline (YouTube)

If you are unable to join the service for whatever reason, you may wish to follow the Spiritual Communion service at home (the order of service, and a sermon, are on the website), using the day’s readings and prayers.

Our Diocese of Blackburn, and the national Church of England also have YouTube channels where worship is regularly offered.

Returning to Worship

We will be worshipping in the Hall in coming weeks, as we await works on the Church roof and ceilings. Should you wish to come to a service, please note:

If you have Covid symptoms, or have been told to isolate because you’ve had contact with someone who has, or are feeling unwell, please let someone know and don’t come to church.

Unless you’re exempt, please wear a covering over your nose and mouth.

Please gel your hands before and after the service, and before receiving communion. 

You will be asked to record your name and contact number on the sheet for traceability – we’re required to do this by law. This will be kept confidentially for 6 weeks.

 If you come as a couple, family or household – you may move the seats to sit together (up to six in a group with a 2 metre distance around the group).  Solo seats have a 2 metre distance around them.
Children are very welcome to attend the service, but we cannot offer Children’s Church for the time being.

Please continue to make your offering by Standing Order wherever possible. There will be an offertory box for cash or cheque donations, but no collection will be taken.
Communion (bread alone) will be received standing, with a non-touch blessing for those who prefer
There will be no refreshments after the service, and any conversations must happen outside from a sociable distance in small groups. The Hall, and all items that have been touched will be cleaned and disinfected between use.
As spaces at the Sunday Eucharists are limited, we ask you to “book” in advance. You can do this on Eventbrite via the links: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christ-church-lancaster-eucharist-830-am-tickets-112091542822

for the 8:30 Eucharist and

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christ-church-lancaster-1030-eucharist-tickets-112092136598

for the 10:30 Eucharist.

Please select the date(s) for the Sunday or Sundays you would like to come. Alternatively, just contact Jacqueline (64083, 07808 765364 or email as below) or Rev Carol, and we will add your name(s).

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.

Opening for Private Prayer

Christ Church will also be open for private prayer, and the opportunity to light a candle this, and forthcoming Sundays from 2pm-4pm, and Wednesdays 10-11am. Thank you to all the volunteers who are making this happen! Today, we will also welcome visitors as part of the Heritage Open Days.

While it is excellent news that we expect the contractors to start work on the roof and then the ceiling very shortly, this will however mean that we will have to cease opening for private prayer for the duration of the interior work.

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.

Prayer and Support

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.

Zoom Prayer

Perhaps you’ve found yourself praying more during lockdown? Tuesday 29th September  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)

Children’s Corner:

Divide children into teams and provide dressing-up clothes. Each team has to race to dress one person in the clothes… but they all have to be inside out and back to front. When the game is over, give the prize to the team who was last (but also then have prizes ready for the others as well!)

Should we always treat people exactly the same? What if they have different needs?

How can we show generous love to each other?

Take a cake or pie or pizza, something that is easy to cut into slices. Get each person in the family to cut a slice for themselves… then give that slice to someone else!

Family Prayer

Father God, thank you that you are so generous with your love towards us. Help us to be as generous with our love towards others. Amen.

(There’s also a YouTube story for this week on Christ Church’s Channel – and colouring and activity sheets at the back of the hall.)

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

Q:  What did the grape say when it was squashed?

A:  Nothing, but it let out a little whine.

Children’s Church  –  21st September – CANCELLED

On the afternoon of Monday 21st September, we had planned an hour of family craft, storytelling and prayer in the Hall.  Owing to the announcement on 18th September of tighter restrictions in Lancashire, we have had to take the decision to cancel this event.  The planned activities will nonetheless be used at half-term and/or on another occasion.

Children’s Church meet-up

While we’re unable to run Children’s Church in current circumstances, if you’d be interested in a Zoom meet-up for families, please let Rev Carol know which days/times you would prefer.

Continuing tonight – 20th September!

‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ says Jesus. Every Sunday evening in September at 4.30pm, we’re looking at some of the people of the New Testament, to see what Jesus’ friends, family and disciples can teach us about what it’s like to live with Jesus.  All welcome – to one or both of the remaining sessions, meeting on Zoom:

https://zoom.us/j/92734207867?pwd=clR3dWp3WHNCQjI0YU1BeVJxK29aQT09

Meeting ID: 927 3420 7867       Passcode: 485956

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.

Vestry Hour

We have been able to welcome families and couples for Christenings and Weddings, and to book them in during Vestry Hour (Sunday mornings 9:30-10 am).  Unfortunately Vestry Hours will fall outside the new rules for Lancashire, so will be suspended from 27th September until further notice.  If you would like to book a Wedding or a Baptism, or wish to enquire about Banns or certificates, please contact Rev Carol directly.   (If you would be willing to help with Vestry Hours once they can resume, please speak to Rev Carol or Jacqueline Stamper. Full training will be given.)

Elections for Church Council, and our review of 2019

Every year, the church and parish meet together to review the year, and elect our churchwardens and PCC members who will represent us as we plan our worship, outreach, and life together. The Annual Parochial Church Meeting was delayed because of lockdown – and legally has to happen by the end of October. So – please pray, and have a think if you would like to stand for election, or if you know someone who you’d like to nominate. No previous experience needed – and almost all posts are subject to a DBS check.  Do chat to Rev Carol or the current post holders if you’re curious about what’s involved.

They are:

Churchwardens (two posts)

Deanery Synod representatives (who meet with other church representatives from across Lancaster and Morecambe and who elect General Synod representatives from the Diocese). Christ Church is currently eligible to elect two voting representatives.

Members of PCC (currently six posts)

Our Treasurer and Parish Safeguarding Officer are ex-officio members of PCC and are appointed by PCC.

The reports for 2019 will soon be available, so please do read them, and bring along any questions and reflections to the APCM on Sunday 25th October.

Annual revision of the Electoral Roll

Please take a moment to look at the poster attached with this newsletter and consider signing up to the Electoral Roll, if you haven’t already done so.  You need to be on the Electoral Roll (including if you are resident in the parish) to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting and for Deanery and Diocesan Synod members.  The number on the Roll determines how many Deanery Synod representatives we have, and it is Deanery Synod members who will elect the new General Synod in 2021, so it’s especially important this year.  The annual revision formally starts on 27th September and completes on 10th October, and there will be more information next week.  Please contact Jacqueline to learn more and/or complete a form. (You don’t need to complete another form if you filled one in from Spring 2019 onward.)

Learn the recorder or piano

Now is the perfect time to learn a new instrument. Marlene has offered to give individual lessons via Skype or Zoom in recorder or piano in exchange for a donation to church funds. Please contact her on marlenephillipsmusic@gmail.com

Applications for church schools 2021

If you have a child who will be going into Reception/Year 7 in 2021, and you are considering applying on faith grounds to a church school (Christ Church, or Ripley St Thomas), please discuss this with Rev Carol, as the admissions criteria have recently changed following the Covid disruption.

Retreat in Daily Life

Please see the attached notice from Lancaster Priory, for a “retreat in daily life” – a week of daily times of prayer and daily half-hour individual meetings with an experienced prayer guide during the week of 18th-23rd October, in which one can participate either in person or online.

Pleas of the week:

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/

Drivers needed to deliver meals

During Lockdown ‘The Ark’ at St Tees, ‘The Mustard Seed’ at The Priory and ‘The Breakfast Shelter’ at New Life, have joined forces with Eggcup to prepare and deliver meals on Tuesdays and Fridays to the formerly homeless.  The food is collected from LDHAS on Edward Street at 5pm and deliveries take 45minutes to 1 hour, depending on the traffic and how talkative the clients are. 

Church Cleaning:

The next cleaning morning is likely to be on 22nd September – all welcome.

Bottles and bottle tops needed

Our Scouts are collecting plastic bottle tops for a local project: www.preciousplasticlancaster.co.uk. Milk bottles, shampoo bottles, washing up bottles – anything! If you can donate, please wash the tops and put them in an envelope. Northern Yarn (6 Kings Arcade) are also accepting donations.

And if you have any 330ml or 500ml clear plastic bottles with lids (e.g. Tropicana-type juice bottles, water bottles) – please pass them on to Rev Carol, please.

Thought for the week

Healing is movement and work toward wholeness. Healing is never a definite location but something in process.                        Lama Rod Owens

Eco Group Action for the Week

At the beginning of lockdown, God’s creation became more evident with cleaner air, louder birdsong and brighter stars. Let the Prime Minister know that this is the world we want to keep for future generations.

Key contacts:

Vicar: Revd Carol Backhouse 942105 revcarolbackhouse@gmail.com

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

Children’s Church: Mrs Liz Mills 67005

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