Weekly Update #76 – 26 September 2021

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #76
26th September 2021

From the Minister                                     “Back to Normal”?

Harvest produceI can no longer say the word, “normal” without putting it in “quote marks”. Maybe that’s because I don’t think that we will ever go back to the way things were before COVID came along – the time when things were “normal”. You simply can’t have a collective experience like the one we have had, and are still having, without some permanent effect, some lasting change to us and the world within which we live. That said, last Sunday worship in the church building had a significantly greater sense of “normality” to it, with chairs together, rather than in a regimented, carefully spaced layout. Perhaps having a service with a traditional theme – harvest – and its associated familiar hymns helped with that, to say nothing of the beautiful festival decorations. Whether or not you would want to call it “normal”, it felt positive, it felt hopeful.


Image: Harvest Service Display at Saint Columba’s, 2021 (Credit: NM)

p.s. And  big thanks to all who donated a small mountain of food tins and packages to our harvest collection for Nite Bite, the group run by North Shields churches, helping those for whom life is hard at this time.

To read what the preacher said about sharing this year’s harvest, click here.


Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.          (Psalm 124:8)

Gracious God, help me to remember all of the good things that you have done for me in the past; help me to be aware of your presence with me today; keep me hopeful for what is to come tomorrow. Amen.

at Saint Columba’s
                                Led by the Reverend Jack Macadam

There will be a collection at the door in support of Macmillan Cancer Support


  • Sanitising of hands upon entry to and exit from the building will be maintained
  • Chairs in the worship area are linked back together – couples, families, and those in a ‘social bubble’ may sit together. Space for individuals who wish or need to maintain distancing will also be respected using the red cards
  • Face masks are required when singing – but it’s also absolutely fine to wear one throughout the service if you wish to do so
  • Services may now last up to 45 minutes
  • More worshippers will now participate through Bible-reading and leading prayers
  • Worshippers should still leave the building before stopping to socialise
From Sunday 3rd October
  • We will begin offering refreshments in the church hall after the service – if we have sufficient volunteers to prepare and serve the tea and coffee (see request for volunteers below, under “News”)
Compassion UK logo
10.30 a.m.– at Saint Columba’s – focusing on the work of Compassion UK, with a visiting speaker from Compassion

St Francis of Assisi stigmata6.30 p.m. – Communion service on Zoom, led by the Reverend Trevor Jamison, focusing on what Saint Francis might have to say to Reformed Church folk today

Image © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

Options for worshipping at home on Sundays

Radio 4                   Sunday Worship                                                                  8.10 a.m.
Online                    URC audio service   https://devotions.urc.org.uk/              10.00 a.m. 
Television              BBC 1  Songs of Praise                                                      1.15 p.m.

DISCLAIMER: tv and radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!

Bible readings for this week

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22            Esther negotiates ruthlessly to save her people
Psalm 124                                      Remembering God, who saves us from danger
Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29       Moses gets fed up with whinging Israelites
Psalm 19:7-14                                Contemplating God’s laws brings benefits
James 5:13-20                                Prayer’s role in many different situations
Mark 9:38-50                                   Don’t get between people and God

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

Reflection on the Readings

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. They’ve been freed from slavery and are on their way to a better land, with food supplied by God, but ‘the rabble’ among the Israelites in Numbers 11 are far from satisfied. They lament the lack of meat. They criticise the quality of the manna. They yearn for the free fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic they remember eating in Egypt. Of course, it was free. They were slaves, and slaves are paid no wages. Yet they don’t choose to remember that inconvenient fact. When times are tough (and it can’t have been fun to be on a years-long trek through a wilderness), people are tempted to idealise the past, even over-idealise it. But the past is past; you can’t go back there. That’s why the rest of the passage is about making arrangements to live well in the present, which on this occasion involved appointing lots of elders! That, however, is a story for another day.

Songs that respond to the readings – Psalm 67

Nisa quia Dominus  the choir of Norwich Cathedral sing Psalm 124

There’s wideness in God’s mercy – sung by the choir of the Riverside Church, New York

Volunteers needed for Sunday Refreshments to happen

Pouring teaFrom Sunday October 3rd we hope to return to serving refreshments in the church hall after the morning service. For that to happen, though, we need volunteers to prepare and serve them. No volunteers = no refreshments, so all who are willing and able, please contact Alison Drew, to find out more and offer your services.

Image by dungthuyvunguyen from Pixabay

Café 2.21  and Square Table Lunches resume

Tea and cakeCafé 2.21 – from Tuesday 21st September, 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m., for tea, coffee, scones, cakes, light lunches
Square Table Lunches – from Thursday 23rd September, 11.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m., for soup, sandwiches, tray bakes, tea and coffee
Both look forward to welcoming you and others!

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Covid precautions to keep everyone safe on Tuesdays and Thursdays

  • extra ventilation and cleaning will be in place
  • everyone asked to take care over social distancing
  • wearing a face mask is a matter of personal choice, but please wear one, if you can, until you sit down at your table
  • hand sanitizers available on all of the tables
  • your server will come to your table to take your order, and bring food and cutlery to you.
  • after your meal, please take your payment slip to the cashier.
Collection for Macmillan Cancer Support –Sunday 26th September
HANDS continue to support the world’s biggest coffee morning, run to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care. This year, taking the pandemic into account, there will not be a coffee morning. Instead you can donate at the church door on Sunday September 26th. Alternatively, if you wish, you can drop off a donation with Audrey, or donate online at https://www.macmillan.org.uk/donate
Lishman Hall back in use
The Lishman Hall, upstairs at the church, is now back in use for meetings. The ‘Grads Room’ remains out of use for meetings at this time.

Keeping in Touch

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 © 2021 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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