30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW Weekly Update #155 7th May 2023
From the Minister Another Year Over and A New One Just Begun?
‘Another year over, and a new one just begun’: so sang John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and the Harlem Community Choir, in the 1971 song, ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’. When does one year start and another one begin? For most of us it happens some time at the end of December / beginning of January. For accountants, and for HMRC it’s the end of March / beginning of April. For Saint Columba’s URC is it the end of April / beginning of May, when we have our Annual Church Meeting? Whatever the case, our ACM is a good opportunity both to look back and to look forward. I was struck by how many of the reports from our church’s various teams and groups about the previous year struck a positive note. More than one descried it as a ‘successful year.’ Another group talked about an ‘exciting year.’ More than one group mentioned ‘new members’ or the ‘hope to continue to grow in numbers.’ In my reflection on the year (see the link below) I spoke about arriving in the ‘new normal’ and emerging from the shadow of COVID. And I shared my impression that numbers in worship at the church on Sunday mornings have been rising. All in all, I’m feeling hopeful about the year that’s over and the new one that’s just begun.
To read Trevor’s reflection on the year past and for the year ahead click here.
Lord, help us to appreciate the past even as you lead us into your future. Encourage us to hear and see you through each other. Enliven our imagination to catch your vision for us, and help us become the people you want us to be. Amen
(Adapted from a prayer by Simon Oxley in ‘The Word in the World’, 1997)
WorshipSunday 7th May
10.30 a.m. service – led by Trevor Jamison, including marking and responding to the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla.
Livestreamed Worship from Saint Columba’s
To watch the morning service live, catch up with it later in the week, or view previous services, click here
Next WeekSunday 14th May
10.30 a.m. communion service – led by Trevor Jamison. This service includes the induction of Elders for service in the year ahead.
6.00 p.m. Churches Together Christian Aid Week service – at Christ Church.
Bible readings for this week
Acts 7:55-60 Stephen – the first martyr
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 God, our rock and our fortress
1 Peter 2:2-10 The Church – a ‘structure’ made up of ‘living stones’
John 14:1-14 Jesus, ‘the way, the truth, and the life’
Once, some years ago, a potential church member said to me, “Central to my faith is the belief that Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life,’ and ‘no one comes to the Father except through him’ (John 14:6): can I expect to hear you preach that message?” I replied that they could expect me to hear me preach that we come to God through Jesus Christ, but I was aware that had I been born in Saudi Arabia rather than Belfast, I would most likely have been a Muslim rather than a Christian. Do we think that God operates a worldwide postcode lottery, where those born in a culturally Christian setting get a much greater chance to come to God via Jesus Christ? Since Jesus tells us that God is both loving and just I don’t think God includes and excludes people on such a basis. I strongly suspect, then, that Jesus, through his life, death and resurrection, reconciles people to God, even some or all of those who have not heard his name or his story. Also, I’m confident that those who have heard his story and respond positively are on the way to reconciliation with God. Reading these verses from John’s Gospel, and reflecting upon them, what do you think?
A hymn that responds to the readings
From John Newton, author of ‘Amazing Grace, comes the hymn, ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear.’ First, as sung by Chris Bowater.
Then in a more traditional congregational version, from Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California.
News and Notices
On Monday 15th May, following a short committal service at Tynemouth crematorium (family-only), there will be a service of thanksgiving for Thelma’s life at Saint Columba’s at 9.45 a.m., led by the Revd Dr Trevor Jamison. The service at the church will also be livestreamed. To watch, click here.
Last chance to get your Coronation Afternoon Tea tickets
Our Coronation Afternoon Tea is due to take place at Saint Columba’s on Monday 8th May at 2.00 p.m.
Tickets cost £8.00 and the last one or two are available from Norma.
Christian Aid Activities and Events in May
Christian Aid Week begins with a Coffee Morning in our Church on Saturday 13th May from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. There will be a cake stall and any donations of cakes etc will be greatly appreciated.
Volunteers to help serving refreshments or on the stall will be welcome – please see Shirley or Evelyn.
Christian Aid Envelopes will be available from this weekend. If you are able to deliver envelopes where you live, please see Shirley for any advice.
The Annual Christian Aid Service will take place at Christ Church on Sunday 14th May at 6 p.m.
Donation to Paediatric Hospital Social Work Fund
On Sunday 30th April, Liz McElvenny from the Children’s Hospital Social Work Team in Newcastle came to tell us about their work with children and families, and to accept a donation of £400 towards help for those facing challenging circumstances.
Next Update – Sunday 14th May
Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 14th May edition please have it with him by Tuesday 9th May.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.