Weekly Update #136 – 18 December

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #136
December 18th 2022 – Advent 4

From the Minister                          Mother of God
‘Do not be afraid, Mary … you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and will name him Jesus.’ (Luke 1:30, 31) Christmas is getting close. After lighting Advent candles to mark God’s promises, God’s prophets, and God’s Messenger (John the Baptist), this Sunday we light a fourth candle, for Mary, the Mother of God. Describing Mary as ‘mother of God’ – ‘theotokos’ in the Eastern churches – is not something done instinctively by Reformed folk. Yet if we believe that Jesus was fully divine as well as full human, then that’s what Mary was. Conceiving and bearing this child, despite whatever fears she had, she was also the first person in the whole world to know Jesus. Yes, Christmas is getting close.
Image: Frank Wesley, 1923-2002. Blue Madonna (The artist has granted permission for the non-commercial use of this image with attribution.)
An Advent Song

The Angel Gabriel From heaven Came sung by Chris Brunelle, to the traditional Basque carol tune, click here to listen.


Almighty God, Mary gave birth to a Son who offers salvation to the whole world. May we, like Mary, both treasure him in our hearts and bring him to others; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
From ‘A Christian’s Prayer Book.’ 1973.

Sunday 18th December
10.30 a.m. “Tinsel and Tea Towels!”
nativityOur All-Age Christmas Nativity Service – immerse yourself in the Christmas story by becoming part of the story yourself! To add a touch of “authenticity” we would be delighted if you would wear a “costume” of your choice!
You might go for a full blown outfit, or just prefer to wear a halo, a crown, some ears, or a tea towel – the choice is yours!
Looking forward to seeing you there, and be sure to invite family and friends along.
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

Christmas Services

6.30 p.m. Christmas Eve Carol Service           Our candle lit service of carols, music, readings and reflections. A service to which you can bring friends, family and neighbours. Followed by mulled wine and mince pies in the church hall.
10.30 a.m. Christmas Day thirty-minute morning service    A relaxed thirty- minute service, with carols, readings and prayers for Christmas day, led by Trevor Jamison.
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

Bible readings for this week

Bible readings for this week     
Isaiah 7:10-16         ‘the young woman is with child …and shall name him Immanuel’
Psalm 80:1-7           ‘restore us, O God … that we may be saved’
Romans 1:1-7          The good news concerning God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord
Matthew 1:18-25     Joseph finds out his fiancée is pregnant, and he’s not the father!

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

Reflection on the Readings       What’s in a Name?

Parents-to-be often spend a lot of time deciding what name to give their child. Sometimes it’s a family name. Sometimes it relates to an event – if I had been born one day earlier I might have been ‘Stephen’. If I had been born two days earlier then I might have been ‘Noel’. Often, names come with a meaning. In Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph (whose name means ‘God adds’) finds that deciding the child’s name has been taken out of his hands (just as many other things have been taken out of his hands). Via a vision of an angel, God tells Joseph to call the child ‘Jesus’ ‘-  to call him ‘God saves,’ because that’s what he will grow up to do. (1:21) And then Matthew, the Gospel’s author, gets to add another name into the mix – ‘Emmanuel’ – which as he informs his readers means, ‘God is with us.’ (1:23) Lots of things get celebrated at Christmas, but these names remind us not forget that it’s about God coming to be with us in order to save us.
Image: Artist unknown. Detail from poster for theatrical production by Bronzeville Arts Ensemble, 2018

A hymn that responds to the readings

‘The hands that first held Mary’s child were hard from working wood. From boards they sawed and planed and filed, and splinters they withstood.’ A hymn featuring Joseph: The Hands That First held Mary’s Child, by Thomas H. Troeger, click here to listen.

News and Notices
Café 2 21 – Christmas and new year break
Cafe 2.21 will be closed on 27th December, 3rd and 10th January, and will re-open on 17th January. “Thank you for all your support and we wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.”

HANDS Saturday Coffee –on holiday for Christmas
Please note that there will be no HANDS coffee mornings on 24th or 31st December

Advent Conversations – final week for group meetings

Sharing the Christmas Story
Final Advent conversation groups this week, looking at the booklet, Sharing the Christmas Story.

Tuesdays at 1.15 p.m. at church,
Thursdays at 7.15 p.m. on Zoom.

Next Update – Sunday December 25th which is also known as …

Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update, which will then take a break until Sunday 8th January 2023. To get your information in the December 25th edition please have it with him by Tuesday December 20th

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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