Weekly Update #106 – 1 May

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #106
1st May 2022

From the Minister                        Laughing God?

Does God have a sense of humour? Jesus is not much help here, because although the Bible says that he wept (John 11:35) it doesn’t tell us that he laughed. Anyway, one of my (many) bugbears is that I think humour can be overrated. For example, I get annoyed with job adverts which say candidates “must have a good sense of humour.” Really? If someone has all the formal qualifications and practical experience needed for the job you would turn them down if they don’t have a sense of humour? You’ve got to be joking. If it’s a job requirement, then you will have to test for it at interview: “so, Mr/Ms Smyth, tell us a joke …” All that said, I suspect that God does have a sense of humour and it’s the story of Saul/Paul that makes me say that. Saul of Tarsus persecuted his fellow Jews who put their faith in their fellow Jew, Jesus. In fact, he decided to travel all the way from Jerusalem to Damascus for that very purpose. On the way, he had his “road to Damascus experience” – a meeting with the risen Jesus Christ that turned his world upside down and his life right around. I like to imagine Saul traveling along the road, so full of plans for finishing off this Christian movement before it could get going. I also like to imagine God observing Saul on the road, smiling and murmuring to God’s self, “he won’t know what’s hit him.” Yes, I think it’s possible that God has got a sense of humour.

Image by JudaM from Pixabay

‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.’ (Romans 12:15)
O God, just as your servant Paul called on us to rejoice or weep, when appropriate, help us also to enjoy an appropriately good laugh together with others. Amen.


10.30 a.m. at Church        Service led by Trevor Jamison, celebrating our recent Messy Church event, and hearing about disciples who are afraid to recognise Jesus
This service will be followed by the Church Annual General Meeting
No tea and coffee after the service this Sunday – we’re planning to rejig how we serve the coffee on Sundays, which hopefully will mean we have enough volunteers to make after-service refreshments viable.

6.30 p.m. on Zoom           Communion service, led by Trevor Jamison

Featuring prayers and hymns for the Easter season, and reflection upon Jesus’s command to Peter to ‘feed my sheep’.

Join Zoom Meeting        https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84313857117
Meeting ID: 843 1385 7117          Phone: 01314601196

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Sunday 8th May
10.30 a.m. Communion Service at church
This service, led by Trevor Jamison, will include the ordination and induction of new Elders for service at Saint Columba’s

Bible readings for this week
Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)     Saul of Tarsus encounters Jesus Christ
Psalm 30                 ‘My God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me’
Psalm 150               Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Revelation 5:11-14  A vision of the Lamb of God
John 21:1-19           The risen Christ meets his disciples by the lakeside

You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/

Reflection on the readings

Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ (John 21:3) When stressed, people often seek comfort in the familiar. In times or bereavement, for example, lots of cups of tea get made. That’s not because people are thirsty, but because it’s comforting to have something that’s familiar, and because you can still do something, even when everything else is falling apart. After all the ups and downs – being with Jesus, seeing him die, experiencing him back with them – it’s no wonder Peter and the others were up for going fishing. After all, some of them had made their living from it before Jesus called them away to go fishing for people. (Matthew 4:19) As it turns out, they seem to have lost the knack for catching fish, for ‘they caught nothing.’ (21:3) If they couldn’t catch fish what were their prospects for catching people? Things didn’t look good. Thank God that Jesus was there with the help they needed (21:6) to make a great catch; one hundred and fifty-three big ones! (21:11) It would give you hope that, with Jesus helping, his disciples (then and now) might have some success when going fishing for people.
Image: The Great Catch www.JohnAugustSwanson.com – copyright 1993 by John August Swanson

A hymn that responds to the readings

A hymn from South America about Jesus’s call for fisher folk: Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbdbd8vNPts

News and Notices

After-Service Tea and Coffee – wear your mask and collect your drink
From Sunday May 8th we cease “table service” (which requires more volunteers) and return to our previous practice, that those wanting tea or coffee can collect their drinks from the kitchen hatch, as long as they are wearing a mask when doing so: No Mask, No Service!

Walking the Way: Living the Life of Jesus Today – 11th May, 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm
An online session offered by Jane Rowell, Norther Synod Mission Enabler, about how churches can explore discipleship more deeply. Guest speaker is Simon Peters, project manager for the URC Walking the Way Project.
To join the meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87243890922?pwd=eGlKYkxRMjlLbmtpZ0Y4YjRZNXFnZz09
Meeting ID: 872 4389 0922          Passcode: Howto
For further details: jane.rowell@urc-northernsynod.org
Christian Aid Week Events – 15-22 May – activities, events, and worship

Envelopes for donations will be made available from the 1st of May. Anyone able to deliver envelopes in their street please contact Shirley McKay.

Christian Aid Coffee Morning at Hawkey’s Lane Methodist Church, Saturday 14th May, 10.00-11.45 a.m. – St Columba’s is organising the Cake Stall, so all donations will be gratefully received.

Christian Aid Service – Sunday 15th May at 6.30 p.m. at Saint Columba’s
As well as marking the work of Christian Aid in our morning service, there will be a Churches Together service in the evening, hosted and led by a team from St Columba’s. Refreshments available after the service.

Help Me Be Digital Project – drop-in sessions on Tuesdays in the church hall
VODA, which works to support the voluntary and community sector in North Tyneside, is running a “Help me Be Digital” project between May and November this year. They are offering free advice to anyone who wants to make the most of their phone or other digital device, such as how to create and use an email address; using online shopping for groceries; installing and using apps like Skype and Zoom; accessing online GP and prescription services; and many other uses. From Tuesday May 10th they are offering a drop-in session the church hall, 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. (while Café 2 21 is also running). Anyone is welcome to come along with their phone or tablet to make use of this service. You can find information about the project here
Memories of North Shields Good Friday Parades – another chance to share your memories – Tuesday 10th May, at Saint Columba’s
The local volunteer group, ‘Remembering the Past’, https://www.rememberingthepast.co.uk/  is continuing its work of capturing memories of Good Friday walks of witness that have taken place in North Shields over past years. If you have memories of Good Friday marches to share, then come along to the church on Tuesday 10th May, 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m., to chat to a representative from the group.

Keeping in Touch

You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.

Minister: Reverend Dr Trevor Jamison            Church Secretary: Alison Drew
minister.northshieldsurc@gmail.com               [email protected]
0191 290 1193         07896 899538                 0191 251 9774

Copyright © 2022 St Columba’s United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

Registered Address:
St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square

North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE30 1PW

United Kingdom

St Columba’s United Reformed Church Charity is a registered charity in England & Wales, number 1164784.

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