Weekly Update #156 – 14 May

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #156          14th May 2023
From the Minister                                  Strong Women

It’s Christian Aid Week, the major fundraising and awareness event for this partnership with people, churches and organisations in many nations, seeking to end poverty worldwide. The work of Christian Aid will be a major focus in our worship this Sunday, and we’ll see and hear positive stories from Rwanda. This year, Christian Aid have shared the story of Esther, recently widowed, the mother of two daughters and grandmother of two boys. She has joined a farming co-operative, which enables her to get a decent price for her crop of pigeon peas. The co-operative also operates a bakery, using an oven purchased with help from Christian Aid. The extra money Esther gets now goes towards paying for school for her grandsons, and purchasing tools for her daughter who works as a carpenter. Watching the video (link below), I was struck by how the co-operative members are all women. So often it seems to be the women who go the extra mile and get things done in difficult circumstances. In our church setting when people observe (accurately) that congregations have more women members than men members that’s sometimes meant (or taken) as a matter for regret. Perhaps we should just be thankful we have so many women willing to be part of our church, whilst being open to ‘allowing’ a few more men join us!


Click here to view Esther’s story

To donate to Christian Aid if you wish, click here               

Prayer for Christian Aid Week

God, gardener of Eden, who flung stars into space and nurtures the tiniest plant,  lift our hopes and dreams above the loss and damage of our suffering planet, that we might share your long-dreamed vision which values the pea as much as the plant. Fill us with your life-giving hope and inspire us with your creative Spirit now, and in the age to come. Amen                                                                                     
(Prayer from Christian Aid)

Worship    Sunday 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

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

Bible readings for this week
Acts 17:22-31                     The God you do not know
Psalm 66:8-20                    Hear what God has done for me
1 Peter 3:13-22                  Giving an account of the hope that is in you
John 14:15-21                    Jesus promises his followers the ‘Spirit of truth’

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

Reflection on the Readings

‘Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.’ (1 Peter 3:15) Faith is demonstrated by actions but also needs to be explained with words. Otherwise, those who don’t know about the content of your faith have to try to guess it from what you do. For them, it  becomes a bit like playing a game of charades. So, when someone asks, it’s better to have already thought about what you believe (and don’t) so that you can express that clearly to them. Sometimes Christians have taken that to extremes, approaching people with a ‘package’ of beliefs they try to ‘sell’ to others, and sometimes it deteriorates into ‘high pressure’ sales techniques. That’s why the next verse in the letter, which continues the sentence, is so important: ‘yet do it with gentleness and reverence.’ (3:16) What words would you use to explain ‘the hope that is in you’? And how would you say them?

Image: Photo by Margaret Almon https://www.flickr.com/photos/nutmegdesigns/6209753202

A hymn that responds to the readings

Go forth and tell! O Church of God, awake! God’s saving news to all the nations take.  To listen, click here

News and Notices

Thelma Miller

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.

Coronation Afternoon Tea – Thank You!

Between forty and fifty people gathered at Saint Columba’s on Monday 8th May to celebrate the coronation with an afternoon tea. A big thank-you to our Social Events Team and everyone else who made the event such a success, including raising £500 for church funds.

Nite Bite News

Nite Bite is a ministry of Churches Together in North Shields, providing a hot meal to anyone in need every Tuesday.  You can read their latest newsletter HERE .  And spot which Saint Columba’s members who feature in the photos!  If you might be interested in volunteering at Nite Bite, please contact Helen on 07472 304756

New To The UK – update and appeal for volunteers
The other ongoing ministry of Churches Together in North Shields is New To The UK,  which operates on Wednesday mornings as a place of welcome for those who have come to Britain from another country.  You can read more HERE.  The group is looking for more volunteer helpers.  If you might be interested please contact Pat Bond for a conversation on  0796 397 2756 or email Pat here
‘At The Threshold’ films and conversations –  6th June onwards

An opportunity to share conversation about faith, either online or in-person,

‘At the Threshold’ is a series of six short documentary films, exploring connections between life and faith.

These will be shown online, followed by discussion, on Tuesday evenings 7.00 p.m. – 9.00 p.m., and at the Synod office in Newcastle on Thursdays, 12.30 p.m. – 2.30 p.m. (lunch provided).  To register for either the Zoom or Synod office sessions please contact Lucy Cooke or call 07752 385 197

Opportunity to attend Greenbelt Festival, 24-27 August

Greenbelt is a Christian annual festival of arts, faith and justice, now in its fiftieth year.  To see what’s on this year click here

A group from Northern Synod are planning to attend and if you would like to join them (with costs of travel, entry and accommodation covered) then contact Lucy Cooke for further details 07752 385 197

Image: www.greenbelt.org.uk

Next Update – Sunday 21st May

Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 21stMay edition please have it with him by Tuesday 16th May.

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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