A number of special services were held as part of our Easter celebrations.
On Palm Sunday (28 March), we remembered Jesus’ popularly acclaimed arrival at Jerusalem, marking the start of Holy Week. As the crowds then had waved palm branches, so at St Columba’s, we were given palm leaves woven into the shape of crosses. Our evening worship took to form of songs of praise, with members sharing songs and hymns that were especially meaningful to them.
On Maundy Thursday (1 April), and evening service of tenebrae was held, reflecting on Jesus’ last supper with his disciples at the Passover festival in Jerusalem.
Good Friday (2 April) began with an open-air service in Northumberland Square, organised by Churches Together in North Shields. We were blessed with fine weather, as hundreds gathered for the annual joint service. Revd Liz Edwards introduced the elected Mayor of North Tyneside, Linda Arkley, and Tynemouth MP, Alan Campbell, who both briefly addressed the crowd. Members from St Columba’s and other churches in the town took part in the short service, which this year presented the Good Friday story in song and art. Particularly effective were the rock solo of “There is a Green Hill” sung to the tune of “There is a House in New Orleans”, and the painting of a green hill and two black crosses on a large board, to which was added a wooden cross. Worship continued with a procession of witness around the town centre led by the wooden cross and the band of the Salvation Army. The procession seemed larger this year, after it had been prevented from taking place in 2009. The churches and Sunday schools of North Shields have marched on Good Friday for over a hundred years, with only a few exceptions. This year’s march ended with adult services in four of the town centre churches, and once again “Messy Church” at St Columba’s. The children enjoyed learning about the Easter stories through art and craft, as well as being treated to a puppet show.
Easter Day (4 April) began early with a short Communion service in a semicircle, followed by a fair trade breakfast, and a family service with infant baptism. Our Minister, Revd Liz Blair, spoke about the blessings of new life, both in the form of a new baby in the family, and in relation to the new start that Jesus’ resurrection brings to the world and to each one of us. During the service, we were invited to bring daffodils to the front as part of our prayers for others, and they were arranged onto a wooden cross. Celebrations concluded with an evening Communion.