Weekly Update #38: Sunday 6 December

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #38: Sunday 6th December 2020

From the Minister                Two candles burning…

Is it my imagination, or have many people put up their Christmas lights earlier this year? That seems to be the case where I live. I’ve even spotted one or two houses sporting external decorations they never displayed last year. (Our “Christmas? Bah, humbug” household will probably switch on the lights in late December.)

Preparing for Christmas feels different this year, frustratingly so, and maybe early Christmas lights are a statement about the determination to be positive in an otherwise gloomy time.

It’s not unlike the prophet Isaiah telling exiles to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ – not because the good times have arrived, but because we believe that they are on the way. Early lights, late lights, or no lights, courtesy of a birth that has already taken place, Christmas has come, and will come around again, no matter what.


Image: Second Candle of Advent (photo by MH; Advent ring by NMc)


‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.’ (Isaiah 9:2)
As candles burn in the gloom, and Christmas lights shine in the dark,
Give us hope, O God for better times to come,
And remind us of the light that dawned upon the world
Through the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Song for Advent Light

‘those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined’
(Isaiah 9:2)

James MacMillan’s wonderful O Radiant Dawn 
Click here to listen.


To be able attend to attend the 10.00 a.m. or 11.15 a.m. service, contact Alison Drew between Thursday morning and midday on the Saturday before the service.  (Contact details below.)

Please remember to follow the practices that keep you and others safe in worship.

And some special reminders:

  • your safety and that of others comes first – you are not obliged to attend
  • if you have a cough or a sniffle, please don’t come to church that Sunday
  • wear your mask over both nose and mouth at all times when in the building

To receive paper copies of orders of service please contact Trevor Jamison

Hymns for this Sunday morning:
Long ago, Prophets Knew Christ Would Come  
O Lord How Shall I Meet You        


A communion service, during which we remember those associated with this congregation who have died during the previous year. To take part in this service:

When the time comes, click here.
Telephone: 0131 460 1196     Meeting ID: 886 0896 7582      Passcode: 975267

Other options for worshipping at home on Sunday

Online           URC audio service (https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ )                10.00 a.m.

Radio            Radio 4                           Sunday Worship                              8.10 a.m.

Television      BBC1                              Worship for Advent                         11.30 a.m.
Songs of Praise                               1.15 p.m.

DISCLAIMER: TV and Radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!

Bible readings for Sunday

From the Revised Common Lectionary
Isaiah 40:1-11          A voice cries out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord”
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13  A prayer to God for salvation
2 Peter 3:8-15a        How should we lead our lives whilst waiting for God?
Mark 1:1-8               ‘I am sending my messenger … one crying out in the wilderness’

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

Songs that respond to the readings

‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord’ – maybe best known musically via Godspell 

‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make a straight path for him’ – from the Taizé chant, Wait for the Lord 

Reflection on the Readings

This week, the Gospel reading quotes the Old Testament reading. Having begun by informing us that ‘this is ‘the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Mark’s next words are, ‘as it is written in the prophet Isaiah …’ (1:1, 2) Another way of putting it would have been, “prepare yourselves!” In Isaiah, captives are told to get ready for God is about to rescue them. In the Gospel story, John the baptizer tells  the people of his day that God is sending someone to their rescue: ‘one more powerful than I is coming after me.’ (1:7) Reading these passages, we’re invited to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the birth our rescuer, Jesus Christ.

Join In These Advent Activities

Advent Conversations – a series of three relaxed conversations, on Thursday evenings at 7.15 p.m., led by Trevor Jamison, on the themes that will addressed in worship the following Sundays

  • Thursday 3rd December      God’s Word (the prophet Isaiah)
  • Thursday 10th December    Our faith (John the Baptist)
  • Thursday 17th December    God’s love (Mary, the mother of Jesus)

To take part in any of the meetings, click on the Zoom link or follow the instruction for telephone :

Telephone: 0131 460 1196     Meeting ID: 860 7160 3960     Passcode: 684583
Northern Synod Advent Prayers – simple daily prayers, lasting approximately fifteen minutes, 9.00 a.m., Monday-Friday, led by members of congregations from around Northern Synod – come and join in with this large and growing group

When the time comes, click here to join.
Meeting ID: 982 5776 5048            Passcode: worship

Christmas Concert and Message of Hope – December 11th at 7.30 p.m.

An evening concert featuring local singer/songwriter Gareth Davies-Jones and a short Message of Hope. Organised by the URC Northern Synod.

Register and book at this link.

St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation –
Saturday at 10.00 a.m.

Meet friends for conversation and company

To join, click here when the time comes.
Telephone: 0131 460 1196     Meeting ID: 899 2245 3307      Passcode: 541254

Don’t forget, you’re allowed to invite friends along to take part in the conversation!

Peter Matthew is hosting this week.

Keeping in Touch – Your contact details

If your contact details (address, telephone or email) change please make sure to inform our Church Secretary Alison Drew.

You can contact your designated Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.

Minister: Reverend Trevor Jamison                 Church Secretary: Alison Drew
minister.northshieldsurc@gmail.com               [email protected].com
0191 290 1193         07896 899538                 0191 251 9774

Copyright © 2020 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.