Weekly Update #157 – 21 May

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #157          21st May 2023
From the Minister                            Look Up, Then Look Around You
‘He was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight.’ (Acts 1:9) Thursday 18th May was Ascension Day this year, and many churches will mark it this Sunday. The Ascension of Jesus is described briefly at the end of Luke’s Gospel (24:50-53) and in a bit more detail at the beginning of The Book of Acts. (1:6-11) The image of Jesus ascending from the earth is both startling and puzzling. Contemporary knowledge of the universe tells us that’ heaven’ is not literally above us, so much as it is ‘out there,’ beyond us. We’re reminded that with God, with Jesus, there’s always an element of the awe-inspiring transcendent in our relationship. God is always beyond us. At the same time, both in Luke and Acts, Jesus’s disciples, having been awestruck, are then directed back to earth, and day-to-day discipleship. Churches both need to speak about our experience of what lies beyond day to day existence, yet also continue to be involved in the things that are important in everyday life.


Image: ‘Christ Ascending to Heaven’ by Aaron Ortiz https://www.flickr.com/photos/aeortiz/247760275/


Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and gloriously ascended, bless the prayer and praise of your faithful people; help us in our working and our waiting in everyday life until you come to be with us again.


A prayer by C N R Wallwork (altered)

Worship    Sunday 21st May

10.30 a.m. service – led by Mrs. Hannah Middleton, URC Northern Synod Children’s Work Adviser

(Trevor Jamison is leading worship at Roker URC)

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

Sunday 28th May – Pentecost Sunday

10.30 a.m. service – led by led by the Revd John Paul.
(Trevor Jamison is attending a URC Ministers’ Gathering)

6.30 p.m. service – led by a team of church members on a Pentecost theme

Bible readings for this week
Acts 1:6-14                            The Ascension of Jesus and the life of the church
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35          The God of power who protects the vulnerable
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11       Depending on God in difficult times
John 17:1-11                         Jesus prays to the Father to protect his followers

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

Reflection on the Readings

‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ (Acts 1:6) When is God going to make everything alright? That’s a question asked by Jesus’s closest followers in the first century, and by believers in the twenty-first century. Over the years some have made predictions about the date when this will happen, but such predictions have never been fulfilled. It’s strange that believers should take part in such activities for Jesus was very clear: ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority’ (1:7) Instead, followers of Jesus are to live in the here and now, depending upon God for strength and wisdom; the Holy Spirit is promised to them and us. (1:8) In the interim, until the day when God puts all things right, followers of Jesus are to continue meeting together (1:14), and to witness to the world. As Jesus puts it, ‘and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ (1:8)

A hymn that responds to the readings

‘A hymn of glory let us sing … Christ, by a road before untrod, ascendeth to the throne of God’ – A hymn of the Ascension, based on words written by The Venerable Bede (672/3-735), monk at Jarrow

To Listen, Click Here

News and Notices

Minister Away

Trevor Jamison is away from 22-29 May, attending a URC Ministers’ Conference. If you have a significant and urgent church-related concern during this time, please contact the Church Secretary, Alison Drew

June Church Magazine Editor

The June Magazine will be edited by Catherine Collins and copy should be with her by 28th May at the latest. Full contact details can be found in the Magazine

A volunteer found, another still sought
Thank you to the person who has agreed to look after the church electronic key fob system. Now all we need is someone to look after the heating timings and settings.

This job takes about half an hour maximum, depending how much has
changed since the previous week. Activities taking place are listed on the online church calendar which is maintained by the Bookings Secretary. Using the calendar, the heating is set for each of the activities taking place. Settings can be updated on the heating control panel in the church boiler room, or remotely, using online access. It is also necessary to check occasionally to see if there are any warning lights on the control panel. Detailed training will be offered to anyone willing to take on or assist with this task. Please contact Keith for further information or Church Secretary, Alison Drew, to make an offer.

‘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 28th May

John Drew will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 28th May edition please have it with him by Tuesday 23rd  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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