Weekly Update #195 – 17 March

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #195 – 17th March 2024
From Andrew                                        Earth Hour

Next Saturday, 23 March, people around the world will observe Earth Hour, between 8.30 and 9.30 p.m.
This international movement, organised by WWF, began in Australia in 2007, with the simple idea of switching off non-essential lights for an hour, and spending that time doing something positive that benefits the planet.  The idea is that it is a symbolic action showing our commitment to what Christians might call “creation care.”

Ideas suggested include:

  • enjoying a walk or taking photographs in nature (which would have to be done during daylight hours)
  • looking up at the stars in the night sky
  • cooking an environmentally-friendly meal (such as with local ingredients and alternatives to meat)
  • having a scavenger hunt round the house for planet-unfriendly products (such as single-use, plastic or polluting items) that could be swapped for more sustainable alternatives
  • “upcycling” or putting old things to new uses
  • working out how you could save rainwater to use in the garden
  • watching a nature programme on television, or finding out more about the earth

Whatever you do this week, make time to reflect on the wonders of creation!


Logo © 2024 Earth Hour, used with permission.

PrayerCreator God, we thank you for the world around us: for trees and flowers, for mountains and waterfalls, for animals, fish, birds and insects. We marvel at their colours and variety, and how we all inter-relate. Help us all to take good care of your natural world.


Worship   Sunday 17th March

10.30 a.m.   A service led by the Revd Jack Macadam.

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 24th March

10.30 a.m.    Palm Sunday service led by the Revd Ron Forster.

Bible readings     Fifth Sunday in Lent (Passion Sunday) 

Jeremiah 31: 31-34 A new covenant of the heart.

Psalm 51: 1-12 A prayer of repentance: “Create in me a clean heart.”

Hebrews 5: 5-10 Christ is appointed high priest because of his obedience.

John 12: 20-33 “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

Reflection on the readings

Timing is everything.  In the garden, seeds and bulbs need to be planted at the right time, to produce flowers and fruit in season.  With people, it’s no use trying to have an in-depth conversation with someone who is watching a crucial sporting event or running for a bus.  At church, various activities and opportunities for worship and nurture are offered at certain times of the week, but if you come at a different time, you may not find what you wanted.

We need the wisdom to recognise when the time is right.

In the set Gospel reading for this week, Jesus is in Jerusalem after his entry on a donkey, and the time is the week leading up to the Passover festival.  Crowds of people are gathering from all over.  Some Greek-speakers, who may have been non-Jewish followers of the Jewish religion, ask to see Jesus.  He recognises that this is a significant moment.  Representatives of the whole world are seeking Jesus.  “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (12: 23).

The events of Holy Week, Jesus’ three-year ministry, his incarnation, and indeed the whole history of creation is reaching its crucial point.  This calls for obedience, humility and an eternal perspective, rather than simply following popular trends or selfish desires.  As we progress through Lent to Easter, we shall see that story played out.

In our own context, there may be occasions when we will need spiritual discernment to recognise the time.  Where do we stand as a world, a nation, a church, or in our own discipleship?  How do we best love, serve and glorify God?  If people come to ask us about Jesus, we can tell them what we know, and lead them to others who can help them on their journey of faith.

Photo by Carol Jeng on Unsplash.

A hymn that responds to the reflection

Picking up on the almost comical scene in the Gospel reading of one going to another to another, I am reminded of a 1981 worship song by Graham Kendrick, One shall tell another, provided here by the Chet Valley Churches of Norfolk.

To Listen, Click Here

News and Notices

Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter

Thank you again to everyone who contributed to the recent fundraising for Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter, which raised £200.

 Click here to read a letter of thanks from them.

Lent Conversation Groups – Week 4 – Mary Magdelene

Lent conversations next week: Mary Magdalene – a woman from “up North” who knows Jesus well enough to recognise his voice.

Image: Church House Publishing / Ally Barrett

In-person meetings
St Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton: Mondays at 2 p.m. – 18 March
St Columba’s URC, North Shields: Thursdays at 7.15 p.m. – 21 March

Online meetings via Zoom
Mondays from 7.15 p.m. – 18 March
For Zoom link, click here

Pie and Pea Lunch – Saturday 23rd March at 1.00 p.m.

Our church Social Events team (SET) are busy planning for events in 2024. The next one is a pie and pea lunch on Saturday 23rd March at 1.00 p.m., to include a game of bingo and an Easter raffle. Tickets are priced at £8.00.

Come & Be Still – 4th and 9th May, 14th and 27th September

The Synod’s Learning & Development Officer, Lucy Cooke, is organising a series of “Come & Be Still” days to be held at both the St Cuthbert’s Centre, Holy Island and Keld Resource Centre in Swaledale during May and September.  She says, “We held the first of these up on Holy Island in September 2023 and those who joined us found it to be a wonderful opportunity to pause amid the busyness of daily life, take time out and reflect and recharge.  These days are open to anyone who wishes to attend and are free of charge – just bring a packed lunch!”  All you need to do to book a place on any of the above days is drop her an email at lucy.cooke@urc-northernsynod.org or give her a call on 07752 385197.

To view more information click here

Next Update – Sunday 24th March 2024

Trevor Jamison will edit the Update for 24th March. To get your information in both the online and printed editions, please have it with him by Tuesday 19th March.

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 © 2024 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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