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Pastoral Letter - Christ the King


Pastoral letter:


Christ

the King


18 November

Contents

Reflection: Year’s end – and a new start

A new PCC

Church maintenance and cleaning

St Lawrence Charities for 2021

Christmas

Details of services

Collection box

Charities

Re-heat, Re-light, electrics and AV

Year’s end – and a new start`

I think that I’ve only ever felt I had to walk out of church once, and that was on the celebration of Christ the King. The problem was that the celebration and proclamation of Jesus as Lord of all, sovereign over creation, didn’t take account of how intensely I was raw, feeling the impact of God’s will being ignored and the personal and collective suffering that resulted. (You may be relieved to hear that I wasn’t leading the service when I felt the need to get out of the building!)


You may be feeling in that kind of in-between space at the moment. In Lockdown 2.0 the church is proclaiming Jesus as Lord when we can’t even get into the building; indeed, there is so much else in life that is challenging. But we should remember that Christ was King when Jesus came to us as a vulnerable and dependent baby infant; and Christ was King as Jesus was betrayed and then crucified on the cross. It is a strange kind of kingship that embraces suffering and loss, but this points to a God who is a compassionate and loving companion in all that life brings. At the last, his purpose won’t be frustrated, even if ours almost certainly is. Living in the gap between the two is the life of faith.


With Christ the King, we come to the end of the church year and are next asked to contemplate some big questions, traditionally sin, death, hell and judgement. These cosmic and existential dimensions of life remind us of the need for a saviour and lead us down the path of watching and waiting for Christ to be born.


This Advent, I’m going to be watching expectantly with my eyes open to see Christ present around me in Eastcote. As we arrive at the phase of the interim process in which we are asked to ‘know ourselves’, this is very timely. Are we ready, here at St Lawrence’s, to receive Christ afresh, in new ways. Are our hearts open and longing for Christ’s presence with us?


With Advent, we have the opportunity to cultivate our longing and desire for Christ, who is as ready to come to our homes and individual lives as he was to poor people in a hostelry stable. Where is Christ in Eastcote – what is he calling us to?


A new PCC


I’m delighted that we have such a skilled and able group offering leadership within the parish, with seven people having joined the PCC, many with terms extending to 2022.


Following our APCM on 18th October, our Church Council has had an induction (9th November) and various Officer and Committee Chair roles have been agreed between them, with an outline plan now in place for the year’s work (16th November).


An outline plan for 2021


We have a lot to do in 2021 as we seek new insights into who we are as a community – what our gifts and priorities and outlook are – and bring this awareness to developing a shared sense of vision as to what we are about here in Eastcote by the time we reach 2022. The PCC are going to be central to that work, so it is important that you know who they are. To that end, there will be biographies for the different members of the PCC on the website. I will reproduce those in a future pastoral letter, but for now, please take a look at the chart on the next page. If there are any names you don’t recognise, be sure to drop the new members of the PCC a line to welcome them.


Committees


I’ve only listed PCC members of committees on the page over. If the work of any of the groups is one you are passionate about or interested in, and you think you might light to contribute, drop me a line and we can explore how your talents might be best used.

Church maintenance and cleaning


A bacon sandwich Saturday may be the thin end of the sand-wedge….


Regular maintenance and cleaning have been lost by way of a habit, which is having a negative impact on the fabric of the church building and grounds. The leaves and acorns around the hall are a hazard for slips and falls; the leaves in the guttering are leading to damp in the walls; the leaves in the drains will eventually block them if not attended to. Equally within the church, there is an accumulation of dirt on the carpets which is getting ground in and there are cobwebs and dust which don’t speak of a cherished place of worship.


I have put out a general call for help with external maintenance tasks and interior cleaning for this Saturday, 21st November from 0900-1200, asking for anything from 30 minutes of your time.


I’m seeking to bribe people into participating with bacon (and smoked vegan tempeh) sandwiches. The aim is to set up a regular rota for a quick and effective monthly clean.


I’m delighted that Scott Boobier - who is now part of the PCC – will be leading on our external maintenance programme. This re-started with a barbecue and now has bacon sandwiches – please let me know your preferred option for the January session…

St Lawrence Charities for 2021

Jo Williams is putting together the calendar for charities to be supported in 2021. Please give thought to which charities you would like to receive money from St Lawrence’s under the following categories:


Christian development and relief

  1. World Mission

  2. Christian development and relief

  3. Other church organisation

  4. Charitable agencies working overseas

  5. National charitable organisation

  6. Local charitable causes



By 24th December 2020, please send your list of charities by:

· Emailing Jo at jopwilliams6@gmail.com, or

· Phoning the parish office, or

· Sending a letter or note with your preferred charities

Christmas

Special Christmas services – dates, times and how to access them:


Sunday 6 December, 6pm Christingle – Sunday 6th December at 6pm


Monday 14 December, TBC Christians together in Eastcote Carols –

  • Zoom

  • Facebook St Lawrence’s private group – pre-recorded service

  • in person


Sunday 20th December, 7pm St Lawrence’s Carol Service


Thursday 24th December, 5pm Crib Service – nativity play

  • Zoom For children acting, please ask Vicki Rawles for details

  • Facebook St Lawrence’s private group: https://fb.me/e/3sWDbHQtg

  • in person


Thursday 24th December, 11pm Midnight Mass – with carols


Friday 25th December, 10am Christmas Day Eucharist – with music


Sunday 27th December, 10am First Sunday of Christmas Eucharist


Eucharists will be celebrated throughout December on Thursdays at 10:30 am and Sundays at 10.00 with possible alterations possible with government COVID restrictions.


Christmas –

Special Christmas services – what to expect: Christingle - Sunday 6th December at 6pm

Children will make their own Christingle whilst participating with others on a Zoom link. The service will feature singing, prayers and a reflection.


Please collect a Christingle pack from the church porch before the service. This will contain a candle and red ribbon. Do have – somewhere in the house, but not immediately to hand – an orange, at least four cocktail sticks and some sweets.


Parents – please note that this service will be livestreamed on a public platform. Ensure that your child may not be identified by name. If you would prefer to avoid being broadcast on a public platform, please watch this service and participate on St Lawrence’s Public Facebook Page.


Monday 14 December, TBC Christians together in Eastcote Carols –

The CTE group of churches have worked together to produce a Christmas Carol service and reflection, thereby showing and living our unity in Christ. This pre-recorded service will be live-streamed through St Lawrence’s Private Facebook Group as a watch-party.


Sunday 20th December, 7pm St Lawrence’s Carol Service

A traditional carol service with readings, prayers and carols.

In order to ensure that everyone can sing their favourite hymns (and nibble on mince pies) with impunity, this service will be led in church without a congregation and live streamed through St Lawrence’s Public Facebook Page.

Thursday 24th December, 5pm Crib Service – nativity play

A traditional nativity play performed by younger members of the St Lawrence Community via Zoom. This will be live streamed on the St Lawrence’s Private Facebook Group

Thursday 24th December, 11pm Midnight Mass – with carols

A live streamed service of Holy Communion starting at 11pm. See in Christmas with friends and family at home – doing this via Facebook will allow you to sing ‘O Come all ye faithful’ at midnight.

Friday 25th December, 10am Christmas Day Eucharist – with music

Please book a ticket online if you would like to be in the congregation for this service of Holy Communion on Christmas Day. The service will also be live streamed.

Sunday 27th December, 10am Christmas Day Eucharist

Please book a ticket online if you would like to be in the congregation for this service of Holy Communion on the First Sunday of Christmas. The service will also be live streamed.



Collection box

The usual Christmas card collection box will not operate this year.


Charities

There are three Charities that St Lawrence’s will be supporting this Christmas:


The Children’s Society – through our Christingle service.

Please use St Lawrence’s dedicated page at: https://thyg.uk/CUS047097 to give online


Christians Against Poverty – helping those who find themselves in financial crisis

To give, please follow the link that will appear on the parish website, or send your donation marked “Christians Against Poverty” to the parish office (with Gift Aid details, as appropriate).


Acorn Youth Group – a local charity providing activities for young people who have specific learning needs

To give, please follow the link that will appear on the parish website, or send your donation marked “Acorn Youth Group” to the parish office (with Gift Aid details, as appropriate).

Re-heat, Re-light, electrics and AV

A second of our gas heaters in church has been condemned. If you are coming to a service in church, please be sure to bring a warm coat with you!

Our plan is to replace the electrics in church, along with the lighting and audio-visual wiring over the coming year. This work is well overdue and now needs to be done urgently. Fr John will be in touch in the new year to consult on the congregation’s priorities for this work.

And finally… Keep safe and well. I look forward to journeying through this Advent with you towards Christmas!



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