Weekly Update #198 – 7 April

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #198 – 7th April 2024
 From the Minister                  How Big is God?

question markGethsemane prayer station

Why do people lose their temper? How did God create the world? How big is God? These are just three of the questions asked by fifty-plus seven year old children at Saint Columba’s United Reformed Church in the week leading up to Easter. In “Our Easter Journey” we placed six prayer installations in the church. These followed he events of Holy Week – Palm Sunday, Jesus in the Temple, The Last Supper, The Garden of Gethsemane, The Cross, and The Empty Tomb. At each installation there was information, images, a Bible reading, a prayer, and an activity to undertake. At “The Garden of Gethsemane” we were reminded that Jesus questioned the necessity for him to go to the cross. His example authorises us to ask God our big questions, safe in the knowledge that God welcomes them, being bigger than our biggest questions. In not being afraid to ask big questions the children set an example to the (rest of) the church. If church isn’t the place where you can ask big questions – of God and each other – what’s the point of church? Now there’s a question.


Images: Left: Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay     Right: CC

See the full list of questions here.

To read more about ‘Our Easter Journey’, and view pictures of the prayer stations, visit our website.


O God, help me to follow the example of Jesus, not to be afraid to ask you about the big questions. And reassure me that you and your love are bigger than the biggest questions I can ask. Amen.

Worship    Sunday 7th April

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

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 14th April

10.30 a.m.     A service led by Mr John Drew

Bible readings

Acts 4:32-35              Life in the early days of the first Christian church congregation
Psalm 133                 ‘How good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity’
1 John 1:1-2:2           Proclaiming Jesus’s message that God is light without darkness
John 20:19-31           Jesus makes two appearances to disciples (including Thomas)

Reflection on the Readings

Doubting ThomasJohn 20:19-31 tells us about two resurrection appearances of Jesus to disciples in a locked room in a house. In the first (19-23) he presents to them his hands and his side (20), presumably still showing the wounds from cross and spear. It’s also a little Pentecost since ‘he breathed on them,’ saying, ‘receive the Holy Spirit.’ (23) Thomas, however, not being present for the demonstration, or to receive the Spirit (24), still needs to be convinced. Seeing and touching is required before he will believe. (25) Then comes the second resurrection appearance (26), this time with Thomas present, and an invitation to put away doubt and to believe. (27) Thomas’s response shows that he has taken in the implications of Jesus’s resurrection: ‘My Lord and my God!’ (28) Thomas has had a stunning experience. Jesus comments, though, that people like us, believers living after the event, are blessed: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ (29) Take time to ponder in what ways you have been blessed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. ‘May we, O God, by grace believe and thus the risen Christ receive, whose raw, imprinted palms reached out and beckoned Thomas from his doubt.’ (Thomas H Troeger)

Image: ‘Doubting Thomas’ by Joó Zoltán, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A hymn that responds to the reflection

Thomas H Troeger’s  hymn, “These Things Did Thomas Count as Real

News and Notices

Minister on holiday

Trevor Jamison will be on holiday from Thursday 4th April to Monday 22nd April inclusive. If you have a significant, urgent matter please contact the Church Secretary, Alison Drew.

15th June at Bishop Auckland – Faithful Flourishing: a Northern Synod festival of faith, fellowship and fun!

People from churches around Northern Synod are invited to take part in this festival, which gives participants free access to all of the venues at The Auckland Project as well as workshops on faith conversations, music, poetry and prayer – plus a packed lunch.

We are hiring a bus to take participants from St Columba’s and St Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton.

You can find more information about the event by clicking here.
Contact Mathew to book your place,
Closing Date for booking for the coach is Sunday 5th May 2024

Next Update – Double Issue – Sunday 14th and 21st April 2024

Andrew Atkinson will edit the next Update. Please get your information to him by Tuesday 9th 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 © 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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