On Sunday 13 March, St Columba’s bade farewell to its Minister, Revd Liz Blair, after 10½ years in North Shields.
The morning service picked up the theme of a topsy-turvy world from Saturday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Indeed, the Mad Hatter herself put in an appearance during the service, in full costume. We reflected that Jesus turned the world upside down by turning our values on their heads. The first shall be last, and the greatest shall be servant of all. The things that are truly important are kindness, gentleness and childlike wonder, rather than a striving after money, fame and power. Sometimes the world seems unjust, when good people suffer and bad ones are rewarded, but the important thing is to keep on looking to God and supporting each other.
The church was packed for this all-age service, with friends from other churches and children who had been baptised by Liz. We sent up our prayers of thanks to God with the help of a bubble machine, and we enjoyed music from the organ and clavinova as well as a saxophone and a sung duet.
Liz reflected on the bad and good times, baptisms, weddings and funerals, and stories we had shared as we had journeyed together as a community of faith. She expressed gratitude for the team of people who had supported her in her ministry at St Columba’s. In 10½ wonderful years she felt we had blessed one another on the way.
Church members also reflected on some of the new things that Liz had started at St Columba’s – the Tuesday coffee morning that had grown into Café 2.21, and the regular Messy Church sessions enabling the young and not so young to engage with Bible stories through crafts. Liz had been “a breath of fresh air” and a supportive “angel” in St Columba’s. Presentations include flowers and an angel made at the Christmas Messy Church session. She will be greatly missed.
Celebrations of Liz’s ministry continued for some time with a large buffet in both halls.