Weekly Update #40: Sunday 20 December

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #40: Sunday 20th December 2020

From the Minister                Four Advent candles burning…

I was once part of an ecumenical meeting for one hundred and fifty clergy (50 Anglican, 50 Roman Catholic, 50 “Free Church”). The speaker asked us to speculate as to why candles were so important to the worship of the English medieval church. We came up with many fine theological suggestions. The speaker told us that most church folk know that it was because they did not have electricity back then! Yes, candles provide light, and we shouldn’t forget that. Their continued popularity in the age of electricity tells us that they also have a symbolic, psychological and emotional power: ‘the light shines in darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)


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

Christmas Arrangements

This is the last Weekly Update for 2020. We will recommence the Update in January 2021.

Worship at the church on Christmas Day:
Christmas Day – one morning service only, taking place at 10.30 a.m.

Sunday 27th – services at 10.00 a.m. and 11.15 a.m.

To book your place at these services please contact Alison Drew BY MIDDAY ON WEDNESDAY 23RD DECEMBER


God, you brought light into being, and I praise you.
Jesus, you are the light of the world, and I love you.
Spirit of God, enlighten me so that I may live well.

A song for Advent

Like a Candle Flame by Graham Kendrick
Graham Kendrick talks about this song

Sunday morning worship in the building

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:
The Angel Gabriel from heaven came 
Angels from the realms of glory 

St Columba’s Zoom Nativity Service – Sunday December 20th 5.00 p.m.

Everyone’s invited to our all-age, interactive nativity service on Zoom. To make the service as interactive as possible you are encouraged to ….

  • come dressed as a nativity character of your choice
  • create a prayer space near your screen, perhaps with a nativity set or beside your Christmas tree.
  • bring a candle, or string of lights and a bell / bells of any kind.
  • Bring drawing implements or model making toys, like Lego or playdough, to draw or model the story as we – then take a picture to share on the church Facebook page
  • Make a Christingle on the night (which requires an orange (with a small cross carved in the top), a red ribbon and pin or a piece of red tape, 4 cocktail sticks, a small candle, a small square of tin foil and some small sweets like dolly mixtures or fruits like raisins)

And all in thirty minutes! And please forward this invitation to your friends both near and far!

To join in, register at nativity@stcolumbas-urc.org.uk and Zoom codes will then be sent to you.

Image : Nativity Scene 2020 (photo by MH)

St Columba’s Carol Service to screen on Christmas Eve at 6.30 p.m.

Join our annual carol service, this year filmed at the church in its usual candlelit setting. It will be led by the Reverend Trevor Jamison, with a mixture of carols on video, and live music, played by our organist. Readings and prayers come from members of the congregation. Simply follow the link to join via YouTube a few minutes before 6.30 p.m. (Please note that the link will not work until the 24 December).

St Columba’s URC Christmas Collection for Pearey House, North Shields

Each year, at our Christmas Eve carol service, we take up a collection for a local charity. This year we are having a collection for Pearey House, a locally based charity for blind and visually impaired adults in North Tyneside. At morning services at the church on the 13th and 20th of December there will be a separate collection plate available for donations. Alternatively, you can donate online via the charity’s webpage or send a cheque to Pearey House, Preston Park, North Shields, NE29 9JR, letting them know it is part of this appeal.

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                         11.00 a.m.
                                                                     (Yes, they’ve changed the time – again!)
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
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16            King David’s line of succession will endure for ever
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26            God’s love endures across generations
Romans 16:25-27                A mystery of the ages is now revealed
Luke 1:26-38                        ‘You will bear a son and name him, Jesus’
Luke 1:46b-55                      God brings down the powerful and lifts up the lowly

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

Reflection on the Readings

God ‘has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts … brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.’ (Luke 1:51, 52) People who think that Christmas has nothing to do with politics or economics should look away now. Mary, a lowly servant of God (1:48), responds to the news that she is to carry and give birth to God’s Son, and call him Jesus (1:31-32), not just with a dutiful ‘let it be with me according to your word’ (1:38), but celebrates by singing out a radical political, social and economic manifesto. It sounds like bad news for the rich and powerful. In the divine economy, though, having been brought low, you become eligible for God to lift you up and give you good things. It’s good news for everyone.

A song that respond to the readings

Peace (Mary) by Poor Bishop Hooper (Jesse and Leah Roberts)

“So go and tell the girl I show you 
She’ll have dirt beneath her nails
A gentle voice that sounds like singing
Even when her patience fails
Her grip is strong but she’s quick to lend
Her knees are worn but her zeal’s not broken
These are the joints that I have chosen to hold
The greatest gift I’ll ever give”  

Click here to listen.

And carols for Christmas

Listen to different versions of several Christmas carols

Join In These Advent Activities

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

Passing the baton

This week marks our fortieth ‘Weekly Update’. What started as a spontaneous idea to keep the congregation connected during a challenging and unprecedented time is still going strong nearly nine months later and is now a core aspect of church life.

As most of you will know by now, I am stepping back from my church duties in the New Year to allow me to focus on my career. This will be my last week putting together the online weekly update (though Trevor does the hard part of writing the content). We are taking a break for a couple of weeks and when we return, the online update will be in the capable hands of Mathew and Andrew. They are going to take it in turns each week to share out the load.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the congregation of St Columba’s for all their support over the last seven years that I have known them. I might be moving away but I won’t be too far, and I will of course endeavour to keep in touch when I am able to.


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: 857 9633 7078      Passcode: 10660

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

Peter Mathew is hosting this week.

After this week we will be taking a break until Saturday 9th January 2021.

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.

One comment on “Weekly Update #40: Sunday 20 December

  1. Thank you to Oliver for your technical skills, and all you have contributed to the life of St Columba’s. We will all wish you well in your future career.

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