Weekly Update #153 – 23 April

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #153          23rd April 2023
From the Minister                           What Do You Find Valuable?

Tulips in the Manse gardenI love tulips. They are beautiful, and just like daffodils and crocuses, they are so simple to grow. Make a hole in the ground, put the bulb in (preferably the right way up), replace the soil, then await developments. Other people love tulips too, but sometimes it has got out of hand. In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands was gripped by ‘tulip mania’. Bulbs of this recently introduced flower changed hands at higher and higher prices. People were buying tulip bulbs, not to grow the flowers, but to sell on at a profit. In January 1637, some single bulbs were selling for ten times the annual income of a skilled artisan. Then, in February of that year, the speculative bubble burst. Prices plummeted, personal fortunes were lost. It seems ridiculous for people to have paid astronomical sums for plant bulbs. True, but why do we value any item? Why value one metal, such as gold, over another, such as silver, or lead? Why pay more for a diamond than an emerald, or for a piece of glass? I don’t really have an answer for those questions. As far as tulips are concerned, though, it’s reason enough to value them because their beauty gives pleasure, rather than because they might make me money (whatever ’money’ is!).


Image: Tulips in the Manse Garden (TJ)


Thank you, O God, for giving us things of beauty in this world. And thank you for loving us for the pleasure that gives to you. Amen.

10.30 a.m. at church          A service led by Trevor Jamison, on the theme of walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Livestreamed Worship from Saint Columba’s

Each Sunday morning we livestream our services from Saint Columba’s. To watch the service live, catch up with it later in the week, or view previous  services, click here.

Technical Glitch Last Sunday
Last Sunday, despite our best efforts on the day, for the first time in a very long time, we were unable to use the screens in worship or to broadcast the livestream. Apologies for that – ‘normal service’ should resume this Sunday.

NEXT WEEK – Sunday 30th April
10.30 a.m. at church          A service led by Trevor Jamison, featuring an interview with Liz McElvenny, paediatric social worker at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), about work made possible through the Paediatric Hospital Social Work Fund.

Also, this service will be followed by our Annual Church Meeting.

6.30 p.m. at church         A service led by Lisa and Norma McAvoy.

Bible readings for this week
Acts 2:14a, 36-41                How should we respond to Jesus?
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19          How should we respond to God’s generosity?
1 Peter 1:17-23                   Coming to trust in God because of the resurrection
Luke 24:13-35                     Two companions on the road meet the risen Jesus

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

Reflection on the Readings

The Walk to EmmausLook closely at the image and you can see three figures in conversation. They are the risen Jesus and two disciples, walking to the village of Emmaus. The artist, Frank Wesley, who was born into a fifth generation Christian family of Hindu and Muslim descent in Northern India, has kept things vague. They could be members of any racial group (if you think that’s problematic then consider how easily we accept images where Jesus and the first disciples look like white Europeans). Also, they could be men or women. Luke 24:13 tells us that there were two disciples, and 24:18 tells us that one of them was a man, Cleopas. About the second disciple, though, the Gospel remains silent. Friend? Brother? Sister? Mother, son or daughter? We don’t know. It could be someone just like you or me. So take the opportunity to re-read Luke 24:13-35, imagining that you are the second disciple on the road and in the house. What does Jesus say to you? How do you feel to be on the road with him, and then at the moment you recognise this stranger for who he really is?

Image: ‘Walk to Emmaus’ by Frank Wesley (1923-2002). Permission granted for non-commercial use.

Hymns that respond to the readings

The beautiful, haunting hymn by Marty Haugen, On the Journey to Emmaus.

And in a quite different American country style, the Gaither Vocal Band sing The Road to Emmaus.

News and Notices

Granny's Attic flyerGranny’s Attic Sale – Thank you!

The Granny’s Attic sale which took place on Saturday 15th April raised the sum of £419.08 for church funds. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped in any way.

Keys and Heating – Two Volunteers Sought for Church Jobs

We are seeking volunteers to do two jobs for Saint Columba’s:

  • Key Fob System – we use an electronic key fob system to enable entry to the building by appropriate members and user groups, both on Sundays and during the week. As soon as possible, we need someone to oversee and update this system on an ongoing basis, including issuing new key fobs as required.
  • Church Heating – we are seeking a volunteer to update the timings on the heating system for the church and halls on a weekly basis. This can be done either at the church or remotely from home via computer. We are looking for someone to shadow the person currently doing this job, taking over from them by September.

For each task, ‘how to’ instruction will be provided plus ongoing advice and support from those who have done the job previously.
For more detail about the tasks or to make an offer please contact our Church Secretary, Alison Drew.

Tickets Now Available for Coronation Afternoon Tea – Monday 8th May

Coronation tea flyerTickets are now available for our Coronation Afternoon Tea, due to take place at Saint Columba’s on Monday 8th May at 2.00 p.m.

Tickets cost £8.00 and are available from Norma.

Book Now for the Northern Synod Gathering at The Alnwick Garden – 3rd June

Alnwick Garden flyerFollowing from the positive feedback and joy felt last year at our gathering at Beamish, Northern Synod are offering another opportunity for fun and fellowship, this time at the Alnwick Garden.
This is free event includes admission, parking, activities, and a buffet lunch.
For further information, and book tickets visit:

Next Update – Sunday 30th April

Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update.  To get your information in both the online and printed editions, please have it with him by Tuesday 25th April.

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 © 2023 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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