Weekly Update #109 – 22 May

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #109
22nd May 2022

From the Minister                                       Service or Hospitality?

Najla KassabNajla Kassab (pictured left) is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the Lebanon and Syria. She is also the President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. (Did you know that there one hundred million of us Reformed Church folk in the world today?) She was a speaker at the recent URC Ministers’ Gathering, where she asked us to think about the difference between ‘service’ and ‘hospitality’. In the hotel industry, ‘service,’ she suggested, is about the process – about making sure everything is done efficiently and correctly. In churches, we also want to make sure that any service we offer runs well. ‘Hospitality,’ though focuses on the person or persons whom you serve. What do they want and need? What can we do to make them welcome or enjoy or benefit from the experience? Najla suggested that churches (and individuals) should start with hospitality (others) first, then create or develop our service to go with that. Sounds like good advice to me.


Image: WCRC


O God, you know what I need to flourish in life, and you are eager to provide it. May I be grateful to you and hospitable to others in all I say and do. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY – Sunday 22nd May
10.30 a.m. Service at church
The service will be led by the Revd Jack Macadam

NEXT WEEK – Sunday 29th May

10.30 a.m. Service at church
A service celebrating the Ascension of Jesus Christ – led by the Revd Dr Trevor Jamison

3.00 p.m. Messy Church
Participative worship for all ages, featuring craft activities that help us learn and worship together, and a time to eat and drink together

6.30 p.m. service at church
Our monthly, last-Sunday-of-the-month evening service at church. An opportunity to experience music, hymns, prayer and reflection in an intimate setting. This month, led by a team of members from St Columba’s

Covid Precautions Update

From this Sunday, face masks are no longer required when worshipping in the church building, though anyone wishing to wear a mask when in worship is very welcome to do so. For further information about these and other changes to our Covid precautions please see here.

Bible readings for this week
Acts 16:9-15                        Paul has a vision about being asked to help out in Macedonia
Psalm 67                              All the peoples and nations are invited to praise God
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5   God’s city as a place of healing
John 14:23-29                     Jesus promises the Holy Spirt to his disciples
John 5:1-9                           Jesus heals someone who had been sick for thirty-eight years

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

Reflection on the Readings 

Kavala mural

Today, if you visit Kavala, a town in the North East of Greece, you will find the mural that is featured here. The figures are life size, and on the adjacent walls, just out of picture, is the text (in Greek of course!) of today’s reading from Acts 16. Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man (here dressed like Alexander the Great?), asking the apostle to, ‘come over to Macedonia and help us.’ (16:9)  In the picture, as in the Bible, Paul has set sail for and now sets foot upon Macedonian soil. Next he has to get up the steep hills at Kavala, in order to get to Philippi, where he will encounter a businesswoman called Lydia. I wonder if Paul slogged all the way up the hill on foot or if hired a donkey? Paul had moved from Asia to Europe, his message from one setting into another. Nowadays, the Gospel has been almost everywhere, geographically speaking, but cultures and societies such as ours change all the time. In what new situation or setting in our North East town might news about Jesus be shared today?

Image: Mural in Kavala, Greece (biblical Neapolis) of Paul’s vision of a call to mission in Macedonia and his setting foot in Europe with the gospel message about Jesus. (Photo by SGU)

 A hymn that responds to the readings

Go Into the World! Go Into All The Earth, a hymn of mission, by Sylvia G Dunstan (1955-1993), sung here by the choir of Grosse Pointe Memorial Church (Michigan)

News and Notices

Fire Drills at St Columba’s

Firefighters trainingIt’s a long time since we held a fire drill at St Columba’s. So, some Sunday soon, we are likely to hold a practice during a morning service. If we ever had to “do it for real” we would want evacuation of the building to go well, so we need to practise, to make sure that’s what would happen. If and when the fire bell rings, don’t be frightened, but do treat it seriously, and follow directions about leaving and returning to the building.

Image: Image by Shelly Torok from Pixabay

No Longer Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male and Female…
First meeting – Tuesday on Zoom, Thursday in-person

The first of three meetings, exploring and celebrating being diverse people, united in one Church – Tuesdays on Zoom, repeated in-person on Thursdays – led by Trevor Jamison

Tuesday 24th / Thursday 26th May at 7.15 p.m.
Acts 8:26-40             Jew and Gentile
A Jewish Palestinian (Asian) follower of Jesus encourages a Gentile Ethiopian (African) to join with him in following Jesus, which leads to baptism and rejoicing.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Meetings on Zoom, Tuesday 24th, 31st May and 7th June at 7.15 p.m.
T0 Join Zoom Meeting Click Here
Meeting ID: 868 3008 2761  To join by phone: 0131 460 1196

Meetings in-person, Thursday 26th May and 2nd and 9th June at 7.15 p.m.
at Saint Columba’s United Reformed Church, North Shields

Saturday 2nd July – Trip to Beamish – Note correction about how to sign up


URC Northern Synod are gathering together to give thanks to God for 50 years of the United Reformed Church which was founded in 1972.

Enjoy a day at Beamish Museum and come and join us to celebrate in the Marquee.
There will be things to make, a picnic lunch, tea and birthday cake and a service of celebration suitable for all ages.

You can pop in to the marquee at any time to do crafts, spend time at prayer stations and engage in activities for every age, but we will have picnic lunch together from midday and then a service of thanksgiving at 3pm.

There is no charge for the event, but tickets must be booked in advance
A list will be placed on the noticeboard in the Church Hall for anyone interested in going to Beamish.  Please put your name on the list if you would like to go.  Alison Drew is organising the booking for St Columba’s, so please do not book directly with Northern Synod. If enough people sign up, transport may be organised.

Next Week’s Update

Next week’s Update will be edited by Trevor Jamison. To get your information in both the online and printed editions please have it with him by Tuesday.

Keeping in Touch

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

Minister: The 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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