12th December 2021

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

The Parish of Christ Church, Lancaster

A vibrant inclusive worshipping community

Sunday 12th December 2021

Third Sunday of Advent


God for whom we watch and wait,

you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:

give us courage to speak the truth,

to hunger for justice,

and to suffer for the cause of right,

with Jesus Christ our Lord.


Zephaniah 3.14-end

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,O daughter Jerusalem! 
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. 
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 
The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. 
I will deal with all your oppressor at that time.
And I will save the lame and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 
At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.

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

Philippians 4.4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

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

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (3.718).    Glory to you, O Lord.

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’

And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” ’

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

Post Communion: 

We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts;

kindle in us the fire of your Spirit

that when your Christ comes again

we may shine as lights before his face;

who is alive and reigns now and for ever.  Amen.


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, in Garnet Street and Kentmere Road; for local shops and businesses

For Darcy Holden ahead of her Christening today.

Prayer and Worship this week: 

Sunday 12th December

8:30 am Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)

10.30 am All Together Service, with Blessing of Toys for Ryelands Sure Start Centre 

12:30 pm Baptism

6 pm Taizé Eucharist (Lady Chapel)


5:30 pm Meditation, followed by

6 pm Evening Prayer (Storey Chapel)


No 9:30 am Holy Communion (Ripley St Thomas in church for their end of term service)

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) 

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

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)

Advent Carol Service – today! 

To help us begin Advent, there will be a candlelit carol service at 4pm today at the end of our Christmas Tree Festival, with prayers and music helping us to watch and wait for Christ’s coming. Do bring a friend!

Blessing of Toys – today!

As part of our 10:30 service today, we will be collecting and blessing toys to be  distributed by Ryelands Sure Start Centre to families who would otherwise go without Christmas presents this year. All donations gratefully received.New or good condition used toys (for all ages) welcomed.   Please do not wrap, as they will only have to be unwrapped by the staff and the wrapping will go to waste!  If you can help transport them at 2 pm on Monday (13th), please let Rev’d Carol know. 

Messy Church 2.30 – 4 pm next Sunday in the hall

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.  Please contact Julie Tinnion or Rev’d Carol with any queries – and do invite friends and neighbours!

Christingle 19th December

Our Christingle Service will be next Sunday (19th December) at 4pm – everyone’s 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 take one of the candle boxes from the back of church, and fill it with loose change before bringing it on the 19th. christingle.org.uk will give you some ideas for prayer too.

Big Band Concert at Christ Church – 14th December

On Tuesday 14th December at 7pm, LRGS’ own Big Band will be performing in Christ Church. All welcome, free admission – with a retiring collection for the Night Shelter.   Please book at https://www.trybooking.co.uk/BJMP

Lancashire Sings Christmas – 16th December

Hope for all at Christmas – Thursday 16th December 2021 From Radio Lancashire and at venues around the County, including Trinity URC, Bowerham. 7.00pm – 8.00pm (Tune in from 6pm) 95.5 FM, 103.9 FM or 104.5 FM. DAB.  Join voices with the whole of Lancashire!    Live from the Radio Lancashire Studio Blackburn. Join in and sing your Christmas socks off!

Two Guides through Advent 

At the back of church are two books to choose from to help us prepare and pray this Advent. The word ‘Advent’ means ‘arrival’ – as we look for Christ’s coming into our hearts and homes. 

  • ‘After God’s own heart’ – a devotional from the Diocese with a daily Bible verse and reflection. 
  • ‘ Advent for Everyone’ – written by Tom Wright, a reflection on Luke’s Gospel, echoing the readings we will hear Sunday by Sunday. 

Both texts are free – if you wish to make a donation to church funds, please leave this in the box.

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.

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!

Eye’ll Be Seeing  You

A support and friendship group for blind and visually impaired people. Mondays  11.00 – 12.30 at the Marsh Community Centre, Willow Lane, Lancaster   Information – Katie – 07868314807, katie.schad@hotmail.co.ukLancaster Priory Community Worker

Chair-based exercise

Thursdays at 10.30am at St Thomas’ Church, Penny Street, Lancaster. Improve your mobility and make friends Gentle routine with friendly, qualified instructors  No charge, but donations welcome to help with costs jeanette@st.tees.org.uk 07486 985 357 

Always Hopeful – Lancaster Methodist Church

Are you in, or recovering from an abusive relationship? Do you wonder where God is in all this? You are not alone, there is help.  Always Hopeful is a 13-week programme for Christian women who have experienced or are still experiencing domestic abuse. Whether it’s emotional, financial, spiritual, or physical abuse. Nobody will tell you what you should believe, how you should feel or how you are supposed to respond to your partner. Rather the programme creates space and offers support for you to work stuff out and recover alongside other women of faith who “get it”.  For more information about when or where the course is running, or to book a place, or just for an informal chat about whether it might be right for you please email alwayshopesally@gmail.com or phone Sally 01524 840027

Do you have a pre-paid funeral plan?

Or do you know someone who does? If you would like your funeral to be taken by a Vicar/parish priest, please check that this is clearly stated in your wishes, whether for a church service, or at the crematorium or graveside. There have recently been issues where a ‘Christian ceremony’ has been misinterpreted by funeral directors. If you have any queries (or if the company tries to charge you extra for this) – please contact Rev’d Carol who is very happy to discuss things further. 


The next PCC meeting is this coming Wednesday, 15th December, when we will be discussing further the vision plan for the church and where we’d like to be in 5 years’ time. If you have thoughts or suggestions – please let Rev’d Carol or Julie Buckley know. 

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.

Taps Twinned!

Thank you very much to the pupils of Christ Church Primary School, who kindly sponsored and  twinned the church taps, with two in Zambia and Afghanistan. Like Toilet Twinning, the scheme supports Tear Fund as they try to give access to clean water and safe sanitation to the 1 in 4 people worldwide who don’t enjoy such blessings https://www.toilettwinning.org/tap-twinning/

Recycling Sunday – 2nd January

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


To everyone who helped make our Christmas Tree Festival possible last weekend. It was a very special time – welcoming new friends to church, and celebrating our local community. Whether helping prepare, set up, sponsor, decorate, welcome, make tea, sweep up, make music, or many other helping hands – Christ Church has been at its best this weekend!

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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.

Lancaster and Morecambe City of Sanctuary 

With Christmas approaching asylum seekers will feel very isolated and being separated from family and friends at this time is especially hard.

Lancaster and Morecambe City of Sanctuary is organising Christmas Hampers as a token of the welcome and care from the generous people of Lancaster. The boxes were very well received last year and brought much joy and gratitude to our community.  We will send a list of suggested items and hope to also have a small gift for under £5 for each person (toiletries, stationery, winter clothing).  Banana boxes from a local supermarket could be suitable and donors are welcome to decorate their box. The filled boxes will be picked up and delivered to each house in the week before Christmas.

We have men, women and families from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Kuwait etc living in 40 houses in and around Lancaster and there are between four and eight asylum seekers in each house.   Lancaster and Morecambe City of Sanctuary welcomes your kind support and we look forward to hearing from you. Dorothea Williamson


Across the Generations

We are on a recruiting drive to find more participants for our ‘Across the Generations’ project. We will be renewing our funding from Lancashire County Council for a further two years. The project is changing slightly and is now open to anyone in the community who would like to get to know asylum seekers and refugees. Also, there will be more meetings where all project participants and volunteers will be invited such as the recent open air vegetarian bbq at Claver Hill. Mostly meetings are in threes, or triads, at the home of the project participant: an asylum seeker or refugee volunteer, a UK volunteer, and a project participant. The frequency of the meetings is variable but generally fortnightly. Those involved in the project are really enjoying it.  Hilary Hopwood, Co-chair, East Meets West M: 07767 626891 FB East Meets West Lancaster.     eastmeetswest6@gmail.com

LDHAS Winter Appeal

Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service are making their Annual Winter Appeal. Cheques payable to LDHAS can be sent to Edward Street, Lancaster, LA1 1QH, or bank transfers to LDHAS, 40-52-40, 00031967 (reference ‘Shelter2021’) Thank you. 

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/

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.

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

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.

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

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Justin who?
Justin time to deliver the Christmas gifts.

Thought for the week

… Hope is the conviction, against a great deal of data, that God is tenacious and persistent in overcoming the deathliness of the world, that God intends joy and peace.                                            Walter Brueggemann

Eco-Group Thought/Action for the Week 

If you are wondering what to buy the friend who has everything, buy a Goodwill gift through Christian Aid, Oxfam or other charities, or support our Platinum Jubilee tree project and donate a tree on their behalf.

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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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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*. If you wish to receive, 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. 

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

Services over the Christmas period

Sunday 19th December: 

8.30am Holy Communion

10.30am Parish Eucharist

2.30pm Messy Church for families in the Hall

4pm Christingle Service

No 6pm Service. 

Monday 20th December 

2.30pm Carol Singing at Moorside Hall (Please bring warm clothing as we may be outside)

Carol sheets provided

4pm Carol Singing at Dolphinlee House (Please bring warm clothing as we may be outside)

Carol sheets provided

Wednesday 22nd December

5.30pm Meditation and Evening Prayer

Christmas Eve (Friday 24th)

9.30am Holy Communion

4pm Crib Service

11.30pm Midnight Mass

Christmas Day (Saturday  25th)

8.30am Holy Communion

10.30am Parish Eucharist

Boxing Day (St Stephen’s Day Sunday 26th)

10.30 Parish Eucharist with Carols

(No 8.30am or 6pm service)

Wednesday 29th December

No 5.30pm Meditation or 6 pm Evening Prayer

New Year’s Eve (Friday 31st December)

No 9.30 service

Sunday 2nd January (Epiphany)

8.30am Holy Communion

10.30am Parish Eucharist

No 6pm Service

Normal services resume thereafter: 

Wednesdays 5.30pm Meditation and 6pm Evening Prayer

Fridays 9.30am Holy Communion

Sundays 8.30am Holy Communion, 10.30am Parish Eucharist and 6pm Evening Prayer

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