South Tyneside Pastorate
It has been good to keep in better touch with you all through the weekly worship/ newsletters. It’s also good to share a bit more news this way. HAPPY EASTER to you all.
There are a few things to put in a diary section this time. We hope and pray that, with the vaccine roll-out, there’ll be more news to share in our next quarterly Newsletter. How are you feeling about going out? I know that many folk have got used to being at home and have some difficulty now going further than the local shops or park. Others are desperate for wider horizons and re-gaining more sociable lives. There are probably many who swing between those two. It’s good to know that God understands all our anxieties and will be with us, whatever our pace or outlook.
God must love variety. There are even lots of different types or ladybirds and colours of tulips. We adapt and change as the seasons roll by and people pursue new and different directions as technology allows or information, fashion or circumstances open new doors. We need not be afraid, God is with us.
What a wonderful God! We can trace God’s presence in the patterns of a fossil, the sparkle of a gem, the roar of the waves or the whisper of the wind. We can see God at work in the new life of the Spring and understand more of God’s love through laughter and summer sunshine. We reflect something of God’s care in smiles and phone calls and through small acts of kindness or compassion. When times are hard, we remember that God is always there in the cold and dark of winter and in the gloom of Good Friday and Easter Saturday. God understands all our suffering, pain and loss and God can lead us through. New life awaits, with blessings and flourishing. Thanks be to God!
Our Easter celebration is not just about the unexpected joy of life after death, extra-ordinary and wonderful though it is. It is an acknowledgement that, when the worst happens, God is not absent. We talk of life bursting from the tomb at Jesus’ resurrection – it’s a powerful image. It is also about breaking through the confines of a seed, for a plant to grow and bear fruit. The old sometimes has to die for the new life to blossom. So, there will be times of commemoration, of thanksgiving, of grieving, rejoicing and of just getting on with things for us, together and apart. Some old patterns will be left behind, because something better has taken their place – even if we have to get used to it! Let’s sing out our laments and find new light, life and hope seeping in, as God’s healing touch brings balm to our battered souls.
Emerging from lock-down may well feel a bit like early Easter morning. Let us celebrate as Easter Christians, never forgetting Good Friday and Easter Saturday, but leaving the grief behind. Initial grief is changed into bewilderment and shock, to be replaced by joy and alleluias! The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The Lord is here, His Spirit is with us! May we know more of God’s peace as we journey on.
I wish you much joy and God’s blessing always. In Christ’s love,
For your prayers …
fills our lives
on this Easter day.
We celebrate your resurrection
with songs of joy
and proclaim your Easter presence
in every corner of your creation.
Let a new day begin for your world.
Let the smallest flower
and largest star
announce the news
that death is overcome by life
and all things are made new.
Let private grief
and public tragedy
be not ignored
but, through your Friday pain
be gathered up
in your eternal victory
as mercy and compassion win
and peace receives the prize.
Let each of us
no matter what our age or skill
leave all our burdens
at your empty tomb
and, from this dawn
begin a resurrection journey,
a pilgrimage of joy
that starts and ends in worship;
for you are worthy to receive
all blessing, honour, glory and power
for ever and ever.
(David Jenkins, Prayer Handbook 1987, Week 16 Easter)
JOINT PASTORATE DIARY
4 April Easter Day
5 April Easter Monday Bank Holiday
14 April 2 pm St Paul & St John’s Elders’ meeting
20 April 10 am St Margaret’s Elders’ meeting
21 April Churches Together in South Tyneside meeting
25 April St Andrew’s Church anniversary
3 May May Day Bank Holiday
6 May Election day
9 – 15 May Christian Aid Week
13 May Ascension Day
13 – 23 May ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative
23 May Pentecost
30 May Spring Bank Holiday
30 June Churches Together in South Tyneside meeting
CHURCHES TOGETHER into the future
As you know, our three congregations are in three different Churches Together areas. There are other groups within South Tyneside as well. Some of them were still working well but others were poorly attended, with organisation of joint services and events falling onto the same few people. As congregations have got older, attendance at some events and services has also dropped. What should we do about this? Is it time to think again? Could some local groups amalgamate? Should we all come under one umbrella? Have you another idea? What do you think? Review is taking place, so please let me know so I can pass on our thoughts and comments. Thank you.
Helen (0191) 456 3021
We have been revising the Prayer Chain, so take this opportunity to ask whether anyone would like to become a link? You will be most welcome. Carol Asker co-ordinates the Prayer Chain, so you can call her on 0191 427 1667 to have someone or a situation added, or to become a link yourself. She will take outline details and start the chain by praying and telephoning the next person. They will also pray and pass the message on. Links in the prayer chain pray for as long as they feel is right, for any particular situation. Thank you for your prayers.
The world seems to be moving on very quickly at the moment, and I know that some Churches and congregations are re-opening soon. The United Reformed Church has taken a slightly more cautious approach. Our Elders’ meetings will keep the situation under review, and we will let you know as soon as we can if there is any change.
The Easter Day service will be at 10.00am via telephone conference call. If you wish to worship with us in this way please let us know by using the Get in Touch menu tab and you will be given joining instructions.
I haven’t decided on an order of service or hymns for our Easter morning telephone service yet, so these are just for you to enjoy. I’m including the outlines for morning and evening services for Easter Day, as the events of the day move on quickly and I didn’t want to miss out the evening gospel passage. Use these as you wish! Did you know that some Christians don’t say ‘Alleluia!’ during Lent? It’s a more reflective, sombre time. So we have plenty of alleluias to sing on Easter Day!
God be praised, He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!
HYMN: Led like a lamb to the slaughter R&S 241 MP 402
Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer
Bible Reading: Psalm 118: 1 + 2, 14 – 24
HYMN: Christ the Lord is risen today R&S 232 MP 76 HTC 150
Bible Readings: Acts 10: 34 – 43 1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 11
HYMN: This joyful Eastertide R&S 248 HTC 165
See, what a morning MP 1105
Gospel Reading: John 20: 1 – 18
thank you for promising to be with us always.
Help us to remember that promise
when we don’t feel brave enough to be your disciples.
Help us to remember that the first people to know that you rose from the tomb
were ordinary women and men who didn’t feel very brave.
Give us courage to believe and to tell others – as Mary did – this Easter and always.’
Amen. (ROOTS for Churches Limited Issue 112, p 25)
HYMN: Jesus lives! Thy terrors now R&S 239 MP 373 HTC 156
Go in peace to serve the Lord,
knowing that because He lives
your labour cannot be lost;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be with you always. Amen.
Praise be to the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy gave us new birth into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!
HYMN: Thine be the glory R&S (I) 247 MP 689 HTC 167
Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer
‘God of steadfastness and surprise,
where I am stuck in the tomb of stale thoughts and shallow faith,
empower me with the wonder and energy of Easter
and set me free to experience your Son’s risen presence in a new way.
I ask this in His name.’ Amen. (ROOTS for Churches Limited Issue 76 p27)
Bible Reading: Psalm 114
HYMN: He is Lord, He is Lord R&S 264 MP 220 HTC S. 7
Bible Readings: Isaiah 25: 6 – 9 1 Corinthians 5: 6 – 8
HYMN: Jesus, Lord, Redeemer R&S 240
Jesus Christ is risen today MP 357 HTC 155
Gospel Reading: Luke 24: 13 – 49
Pause for Reflection
‘Call me by name, Lord, when I feel lost and bewildered;
when all I trusted is slipping through my fingers
and sadness is deep inside.
Call me by name, as you called Mary,
that I may sing the Easter hymns with joy and confidence,
and recognise your risen presence with me, day by day. Amen.’
(ROOTS for the Churches limited Issue 76 p 27)
A prayer in the pandemic by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, written for Bible Society:
whose Son Jesus Christ suffered for us on the cross that we might have eternal life, be present with us in our suffering as we endure the pandemic.
Be present to the sick; be present to the dying; be present to the bereaved.
We know that in your love all things shall be made whole.
Strengthen in us that hope which comes only from faith in your unfailing love.
This we ask through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever one God.’ Amen.
HYMN: The strife is o’er R&S 250 MP 670 HTC 163
Go in peace to serve the Lord;
and may the God of peace,
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in all goodness,
so that you may do His will,
and may He make of us what He would have us be
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory
for ever and ever. Amen.
OUR NEW WEBSITE
After 31st March 2021 the website www.stmargaretsurc.org.uk will be taken down and visitors to that site will be automatically redirected to the new site, which features all three churches of the South Tyneside Pastorate. I encourage those of you who have access to the internet to visit the new site and see what it has to offer. At present most of the content on the site has been composed or edited by me as your Web Administrator. However, if you see anything on the site that you consider to be inaccurate or in need of amendment please do let me know and I will put it right. Or you may have ideas for including some things on the site that I haven’t thought of – again, please let me know. Don’t forget, the website is the Pastorate’s window through which the whole world can get to know us; what we believe and what we stand for. The more interesting and accessible we can make the website; the more visitors we can attract; the more our Christian ministry can literally be spread worldwide.
I would also encourage you, and your friends and families, in fact anyone, to visit our site as much as you can. It is updated at least on a weekly basis and there may be something new that would be of interest to you. Remember, the more ‘hits’ we get the easier it will be for people using search engines, like Google for instance, to find us and, hopefully, benefit from their visit.
If you would like to submit an item or photograph for possible inclusion on the site, please get in touch with me. The Pastorate email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org or you can use the Contact Form on the website.
Well, it’s hard to believe we have been in some form of lockdown for twelve months! How quickly those months have gone by. I’m sure we all wish we had managed to fulfil the tasks we planned to do during this time! I, for one, had so many goals I hoped to achieve, but I find the days and weeks have passed by so quickly. Most of my time is filled with keeping in contact with family, friends and church family either by telephone or social media. Speaking of which, where would we be without social media? I find it has been invaluable, especially being able to see people on Skype, Facetime or Zoom. Although not everyone is able to join the weekly telephone service, I personally, find it so inspiring and it’s lovely to hear everyone’s voice on a Sunday morning. It also gives me a sense of being together for worship. Hopefully we can all meet again for ‘face to face’ worship in the not-too-distant future – vaccinations and restrictions permitting!
On behalf of St Andrew’s I would like to express my thanks to Helen for her weekly Worship newsletter, I know her thoughts and words have been invaluable to us all and given us a feeling of togetherness during what has been a very stressful time, not only for us, but also for Helen and her family.
On 25th April, it will be the 148th Anniversary of the opening St Andrew’s Presbyterian church. Obviously we are unable to celebrate in the usual way, but Elders are arranging afternoon tea to be delivered to our members’ homes on Saturday, 24th April, which will enable us all to enjoy the celebration together.
Our Ecumenical SingAlongTogether (SALT) choirmaster Peter Kennedy arranged for us to have a weekly ‘Zoom’ get together, which has become a great social event, there are usually on average 25 people from various Hebburn churches on screen. Peter organises our song sheet and provides the music for us to sing together at home – on mute of course! We have had a variety of weekly quizzes, some of which have raised lots of laughs. During this time we have also contributed to fundraising events to raise funds for several charities, e.g., Hebburn Helps and Red Nose Day. And now for the advertising plug: Ian, who is one of our members, has constructed a very good website which can be viewed on Google – ‘saltcc.org‘. We are all proud of our choir and the friendships we have formed. I know I speak for all of our members, when I say we all look forward to Monday nights.
Finally, our Elders and congregation would like to send Easter blessings to Helen and everyone at St Margaret’s and St Paul and St John’s.
Thinking of all those in need of prayer at this Eastertime. God Bless.
ST PAUL & ST JOHN’S
Greetings from St Paul and St Johns.
What a challenging year this past one has been due to the Covid pandemic. Lots of you will have been separated from family and friends and social contact. We have all learned new skills with technology me included. Who knew what Zoom is or sharing worship by phone?
I hope you are all well and have now had your 1st vaccination. The Church opening and then closing was a big blow for all involved and for the brief times I worshipped at St Margaret’s it was lovely to be part of our Church family again.
We have kept contact via Helen’s weekly worship sheet and newsletter and Colin has enabled us to worship via telephone. Many have kept up regular pastoral calls to members and friends.
I have to admit I was a little nervous about worship by phone, but it’s amazing how easy it was and looking forward to hearing you all soon. Please join us if you can.
It is with sadness that I have to share the news of the death of Ernie Gray on 22nd December, 2020. A true gentleman.
As you are probably aware the Church building has been sold to Shield Church. We still continue to worship in the Church Centre when allowed and hope our groups can return.
I met Adam the Minister and his family when I returned my keys. They were very welcoming and we shared many memories of the life of the Church. There were quite a few photographs left behind so I have taken them to the Centre. The members from Shield were kind and helped us move items from Church to the Centre. They are thrilled to have the building for worship.
Formally I wish to thank Helen, our Minister, for our weekly service material and anyone who helped with this when Helen was poorly.
It has not been an easy year for any of us, but especially challenging for Helen and her family and I know you have all supported with prayer.
I am hoping we will all be together soon.
I wish you all peace, hope and prayers and a sharing of your stories.
I would like to thank all of you who take part in our Sunday 10am Telephone Conference Calls for Worship. It is so good to hear all your voices and lovely to hear Colin playing our hymns so that we can sing along and feel we are indeed a part of a URC family, so near to each other and yet so far from our buildings! God bless you all.
St George’s Day the flag is raised
but no-one seems to sing his praise
St Patrick, Andrew, David celebrate
poor George we don’t even rate.
Have a day’s holiday, what a joke
Even though he was a heroic bloke
Fought in the Crusades’ religious wars
Slew a dragon, came back to our shores
To be forgotten by the hordes.
Is it because the English aren’t fooled
that George is left out in the cold?
A Christian caring soul who fought for what is right
Come on you Brits put up a fight
tackle the Government with all your might
For England, George, our birthright.
It’s a year ago, Tuesday 17th March, St Patrick’s Day, that I went off to Alicante and found I was in Spanish lockdown. I had not one, but many flights cancelled to return to Newcastle. I was able to venture to a supermarket every day by way of a bus to the furthest part of Alicante. These were free rides and, as long as I had a shopping bag with me, I could board the bus. Then in supermarkets it was mandatory to wear not just a mask to enter a shop, but also to wear plastic gloves. On the 12th May I managed to get a train from Alicante to Barcelona, where I stayed overnight. Then a flight to Heathrow Airport, where I got a tube train to King’s Cross Station, then a train to Newcastle, then home. While I was away, Margaret kindly did plenty in the garden and sowed potatoes and loads of beetroot and lovely tomatoes, Would I do it again? Of course.
I would also like to add my grateful thanks to Helen for her worship material and for her guidance which keeps us all connected as a church family in these extraordinary times. I am sure she did not imagine this would be the way she would count down towards her retirement in September.