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 Welcome to Issue 106

25 November 2022
In this edition of the newsletter we have details of a lot of activities taking place in our local churches as we approach Advent and Christmas. Jesmond URC are holding a series of concerts during December, St Columba's URC in North Shields are running an in-person and zoom Advent Conversation Group looking at sharing the Christmas story.  Christmas Fayres are taking place in Seaton Delaval and Bedlington.  St Columba's in North Shields are opening their doors on the weekend of 10 and 11 December as part of the North Shields Victorian Christmas Market event.  The Wooler Living Nativity will take place on Saturday 17 December at 1 pm around Wooler village.

Waddington Street URC in Durham celebrated their 150th anniversary year, with a recent concert given by St John's College Chapel Choir from the University of Durham.

We have some training dates scheduled for next year for Elders and Lay Preachers.  Please do read through the information enclosed in the newsletter and contact Lucy Cooke, Synod Learning and Development Officer, if you would like to find out more or book a place.

We also have our usual round up of news from other places and the National URC news, where you can find details of a joint online Advent service between the URC and its partner churches in the Palatinate (Pfalz) region of Germany.  Finally, prayers for the 2024 URC Prayer Handbook, Full to the Brim, are now invited.  
The deadline for submissions is February 24, 2023.

We are always looking for news of interest and events so, if you have any items that you would like to be included in the newsletter, please send them to or  Please remember that if you are including photographs, you need to gain the permission of the people in them for it to be shared.  If you have anything that you would like to be included, the next issue of the newsletter will be published on 9 December, which will be our last newsletter of 2022.  The Newsletter will be taking a short break over the Christmas and New Year period and will return on Friday 13 January 2023.  Until next time ...

Lisa and Wendy
Northern Synod News
Dear friends,
I am writing to let you know that Mel Campbell has indicated she will be stepping down as Northern Synod’s Clerk in early February, to give more time to her pre-ordination preparation.
Mel will be a huge miss, and I am sure that like me, you will be very sorry to see her move on, but also, like me, will pray God’s continued blessing as her discipleship and adventure of faith continues in the years to come.
Mel has been with us since August 2013 and has helped Northern through significant changes in the intervening years.  Her bright personality, positive approach, creativity, professional skills and personal faith have enabled her to provide support, wise counsel, and inspiration to so many of us. 
Synod will now be looking for our next Synod Clerk, and all our prayers and discernment will be needed as we seek to identify someone with the right gifts, skills, experience and approach to enable Northern Synod to continue to move forward with vision and confidence.  The search for such a person will be a high priority in the coming weeks and months.
In Christ,
Dave Herbert                                                                        24th November 2022
New Year - Learning Opportunities, Northern Synod

Morning Prayers    

Everyone is invited to join the Northern Synod morning prayers. Join at 9 am for 15-20 minutes, Monday to Friday, through Zoom or by phone.
More details and joining instructions here.

person sitting while reading book
Northern Synod 2022 Prayer Diary Available Here
Northern Synod 2023 Prayer Diary Available Here
URC Children and Youth Work
Christmas Boxes
A resource to use with Children & Families 
prepared by the Northern Synod Children, Youth & Families Team

We want to help you to share the true message of Christmas with the families you connect with. With this in mind, we have prepared boxes for you to distribute with activities to engage creatively with the Christmas story. The focus is ‘Peace’ and we are linking that with the visits of the Angels to Mary and to the Shepherds.
The aim of each pack is to enable families to engage with the Christmas story together in a range of ways including crafts, bible reflection, prompts for conversation and questions to consider.  Each pack also includes a retelling of the Christmas story for different ages and a magazine for adults to read.
We are preparing 100 boxes (max) and distributing them to you at no charge.  They can be collected from the Synod Office, or we can arrange to meet you and bring the boxes.
We need to know how many boxes you can use, it’s a first come first served offer, so please place your orders to us promptly to avoid disappointment by contacting Hannah Middleton or John Stephenson (contact details below) ideally as soon as possible and by 12 December at the latest.
Contact details
Children’s Work Advisor: Hannah Middleton 07340 328690,
Youth Work Advisor: John Stephenson  07849 670210
Christmas Resource Pack for Churches

Click here to find out more about the Christmas Resource Pack, Sprinkles and Sparkles.  You can email Hannah Middleton, Northern Synod Children’s Work Advisor to request the resources.


SU Ireland and SU Scotland have teamed up to produce this free 3 part video series aimed at 9 - 14 year olds that provides a fresh perspective on the First Christmas and explores why it matters for us today.  You can find out more and register for the resources by clicking here.

Youth Leaders Gathering - January 27 - 29 2023

You can find further details for this event by clicking here.

The cost of attendance will be met by the Synod and John Stephenson is attending this event and can offer travel for up to 5 more people.


News of Churches around the Synod
St Columba's URC, North Shields

Advent 2022
Conversation Groups on
“Sharing the Christmas Story”

This Advent, join a conversation group on Sharing the Christmas Story.
Read the booklet, which for each day offers a Bible reading, a reflection, and a prayer. Then you can discuss this informally with other readers, and/or join one of our conversation groups.
(If you have not ordered a booklet via Saint Columba’s, you can obtain at directly  from the Bible Reading Fellowship )
These sixty- minute meetings include space for quiet, and an open conversation about the theme for the week – Promise, Light, Mystery, and Love.

Two groups will be meeting each week:
Tuesdays          1.15 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. at the church
                           (November 29, and 6, 13, 20 December)

Thursdays         7.15 p.m. – 8.15 p.m. via Zoom
                           (1, 8, 15 December)

(The content of the Tuesday and Thursday meetings will be identical.)
Wooler URC

Wooler Living Nativity 

On Saturday 17th December, at 1pm - Wooler URC will be holding a Living Nativity round Wooler Village. We have two real donkeys, a real sheep and a real baby boy. We will travel around the village with characters dressed up telling the story and singing carols. Refreshments provided after the service.

Email or telephone Fliss Barker for more details, 07570 594049.

Wooler Warm Hub - Warm Welcome 
Everyone is welcome to Wooler Warm Hub for a soup lunch, hot drinks and a warm space. Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11am - 2pm. Free. 

Trinity Church, Bedlington

Saturday 26th November
10 am – 12 noon

Please click here for more details
Elsdon Avenue Church, Seaton Delaval
Wednesday 30th November Served 12 noon – 1 pm
Light lunches

Two Course Meal + Teas / Coffees £4.50
Saturday 10th December at 10.00am
Christmas Fayre
Including Light Lunches Teas & Coffees
Served 12 noon
Various Stalls including
Cake, Tombola, Crafts etc
All are welcome
St Columba's URC, North Shields, Festival of Christmas Trees
(plus the North Shields Victorian Christmas Market Weekend)

Saturday 10 December 10 am - 4 pm
Sunday 11 December 12 noon - 3 pm

Christmas Tree displays in the Church.
Light refreshments and hot drinks available in the Hall.
The Christmas Market will be situated in the newly refurbished Northumberland Square, opposite the Church.

All are welcome.
Waddington Street URC, Durham, 

Waddington Street United Reformed Church, Durham 
150th Anniversary Year 
An evening concert was recently given by St John’s College Chapel Choir, University of Durham, with Musical Director, Louise Reid.  The concert’s themes were anniversary and remembrance and included the music of Vaughan Williams (celebrating the composer’s 150th anniversary of his birth), Hubert Parry and Samuel Wesley.  

Some anthems from an excellent programme included: 
O Taste and See: Composed by Vaughan Williams for the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. 
My Soul there is a Country: composed by Hubert Parry and sung at the funeral service of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey 
There is an Old Belief: composed by Hubert Parry, the song/poem was sung at the composer’s funeral service at St Paul’s Cathedral, February 1919. 
Thou wilt keep him in Perfect Peace: Samuel’s Wesley’s anthem is particularly suitable for an evening service of reflection. 

Organ scholars of St John’s College Chapel Choir, Matthew and Charles played two organ pieces, 1) O Welt, Ich Muss Dich Lassen, Brahms (Op.122, No 11) and 2) Andante from Trio Sonata No.4 in E minor, JS Bach (BVW 528). 

The concert was followed by a delicious supper and seasonal punch.  The anniversary concert raised £600 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (Pakistan Floods Appeal 2022 and the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal 2022). 

Images: Ray Anglesea
Jesmond URC, Ukrainian Evening

Jesmond United Reformed Church, Burdon Terrace, NE2 3AE will be hosting a ‘Ukrainian Evening’ on Friday, 2 December from 6.30 pm
The evening will include Ukrainian food, music and dancing.
Tickets are £10 and are available from Jesmond Library or by email

Profits are in aid of Jesmond Library and refugee charities

Jesmond URC, Winter Concert, Saturday 3 December, 7.30 pm

Tyneside Chamber Orchestra will be performing its Winter Concert at Jesmond United Reformed Church, Burdon Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3AE on Saturday, 3 December at 7.30 pm.  Click here for more details of the programme.

 Tickets £10 on the door (under 18s free).  You can find out more about the Tyneside Chamber Orchestra by clicking
Jesmond URC, Christmas Concert,
Sunday 4 December, 7.00 pm

Newcastle Student Orchestra & Choir will be holding its Christmas Concert at Jesmond United Reformed Church, Burdon Terrace,  Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3AE at 7 pm on Sunday, 4 December.

The concert will feature music from Wicked and Game of Thrones, Eric Whittacre, Holst and Christmas favourites like Sleigh Ride.
Tickets: £5 Concessions: £3 (including students)
Jesmond URC, Winter Concert, Saturday 10 December, 7.30 pm

The Northumberland Orchestral Society will be presenting Barber Violin Concerto on Saturday, 10 December at 7.30 pm at Jesmond United Reformed Church, Burdon Terrace, NE2 3AE.  Further details of the programme can be found here.
Tickets £12, Students £6, free for under 18s and unwaged
Contactless payment available on the door

Further details about the Northumberland Orchestral Society can be found here.
Jesmond URC, Bach Choir, Thursday 15 December at 7.30 pm

Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir will be performing ‘A Celebration of Christmas in Words & Music’ at 7.30 pm  on Thursday, 15 December at Jesmond United Reformed Church, Burdon Terrace.
Tickets: £10.00 (Students and Unwaged £5.00; Under 18s Free) and are available on the door or online from
Proceeds are in aid of The People’s Kitchen
 National URC News

Online Advent Service

The joint Advent Service between the URC and its partner churches in the Palatinate (Pfalz) region of Germany will take place live and online on Sunday evening 4 December, starting at 6.00 pm (UK time). The theme this year is ‘Arise and Shine’ and will be based on the liturgy provided by our German partners. It will be led by Pfarrer Martin Henninger and Rev Philip Brooks, assisted by volunteers and singers from the URC and the Evangelische Kirche der Pfalz.
The service will be fully accessible for both English and German speakers, with translations provided on screen. It is a celebration of the long-standing friendship between the two churches, that we share together in worship during Advent. There will be time in the service to meet with friends old and new. We would love to see you at the service and please feel free to advertise in your churches. Here is the Zoom link:
Topic: Pfalz/UK Advent service
Time: Dec 4, 2022 18:00 London
Meeting ID: 813 1399 9338
Passcode: 292540

Prayers for the 2024 URC Prayer Handbook

Prayers for the 2024 URC Prayer Handbook, Full to the Brim, are now invited: further details can be found here.
Please submit your prayers, or any questions about the prayer handbook or the process, by email.
The deadline for submissions is February 24, 2023.
 News from other places
The County Durham Partnership's Breakfast Seminars bring together elected members, officers, partners, and people from faith and community groups, in roundtable conversations on challenging and timely topics.
The title of the next Seminar is New Neighbours, New friends? Welcoming Refugees and Asylum seekers in our communities and will take place on Wednesday 7th December at 8.30 -9.30 am in County Hall, Durham (Refreshments available from 8.15).
The Seminar will be introduced by The Revd. Joanne Thorns, Diocesan Project Coordinator for the Refugees and Asylum Seekers project.
For organisational and catering purposes it would be helpful to know if you planning to attend, please
email to confirm by 2 December.
Please click
here for further details.
Assistant Data Analyst
Hybrid working at Church House in London and from home

Permanent contract, 35 hours per week
Salary: £32,336
Closing date for applications: 12 noon, Monday 5 December 2022
Interview date: Tuesday 13 December 2022
here for further details and how to apply.
Click here for the Latest URC News
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