Newsletter July 2022

alpha and omegaDear friends,

I can’t believe that I’ve been here the allotted five years and it is now time to move on. When I came, it was with much anticipation on both sides. I was welcomed with a wonderful service at my Induction, and with warmth and affection. I’ll never forget it or my time with you all. I have been blessed in those times of sharing with you, in sadness and in the celebrations. It has been a privilege to be a part of this worshipping community.

There have been opportunities to reach out to others, and make contacts around about for future outreach. It has been disappointing that the pandemic put so much on hold. With the end of my ministry in Leeds being so near to us coming out of the pandemic, it has meant some things we were looking into before it are now not coming to fruition.

However, the future looms for Headingley St Columba as it does for myself and family. The church now as part of the Leeds URC Partnership, with a team ministry, and Nicola Robinson your named Minister. As someone new to the ministry she will need all your support and prayers. The ministry team will be on hand too, as they share with the Partnership Churches. It will be an exciting time in the life of the URC in Leeds, including our church. I will be praying for you as the future of ministry and mission this way unfolds.

For myself, I’ll be living in Peterborough, ministering in a Resource Area pastorate. This will be new for the churches in that pastorate too, for St Andrew’s URC Peterborough, Eastgate URC in Bourne, Spalding URC and Wisbech URC. Please continue to pray for me as I take up this new challenge and work with the churches in that area.

I won’t be far from Leeds though in another way. Our Stuart is staying in Leeds to finish his apprenticeship and, all being well, will continue to work where he is when he’s finished. Brian also will be continuing his ministry in Burnley and Oldham, commuting most likely from Leeds, and coming to Peterborough for two or three days each week. Some weeks I’ll come and stay with him and Stuart for a couple of days, so if you see someone who looks like me, it might well be!

rainbowBeginnings and endings, endings and beginnings. The words at the top of the page are from the book of Revelation 22: 33. The full verse is, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’ It reminds us that though we go through changes, with beginnings and endings, God is constant throughout. We can put our trust in God’s faithfulness, mercy and love for the future, the one who is with us in each new beginning and each accomplished ending.

My prayer is this: ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.’ 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17

Thank you to you all for the blessings of this last 5 years of my life among you, for your support in so many ways, and your prayers that have been my strength.

With love in Christ, Clare <><

2nd Saturday 4.00pm Celebration & Thanksgiving Service for the Ministry of
Rev Clare Davison
Family Barbecue
3rd SUNDAY 11.30am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers.
10th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by our Minister.
12 noon Annual General Church Meeting
12th Tuesday 12.30pm Guild Lunch
17th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship including the Sacrament of Holy Communion
led by our Minister.
24th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
31st SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Edward Convery

Edward Convery is a member of the United Reformed Church at Saltaire. He worshipped with us on several Sundays this year while studying in Leeds, and we welcome him to lead our worship on 31st July.

In Memoriam. It is with sadness that we record the passing of Dr John Hamilton on Wednesday 8th June. John was a longstanding Member of Headingley St Columba and worshipped regularly with his wife, Dr Sheila Hamilton who predeceased him in 2018. They were also staunch supporters of the then flourishing Caledonian Society in Leeds. I am sure many of us will recall John reading the lesson, immaculately and proudly dressed in his kilt when the Caledonian Society joined us to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day at the end of each November. John had been very frail for some years and had been unable to join us for worship. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son and family. The funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday, 6th July.

The Thanksgiving Service and Funeral of the late Mr James Throssell will be held at 1pm on Thursday, 7th July

Thank you
I wanted to say a big thank you for all the cards, gifts and flowers sent while I recovering from my operation in May. I really appreciated them, and all your prayers.
Clare <><

Prayer Meeting
This month’s prayer meeting will be on Wednesday 11th July, from 10.30am to 11am as usual. Prayer sheets are sent around by email to those who would like to prayer around that time, or sometime that day, just contact Margaret Madill or Aleck Brownjohn to receive one. It’s a time to spend in prayer for those in our church and those we know who are unwell, bereaved or need prayer for other issues.


Prayer Groups
We have had two prayer groups running, praying for the mission of our Partnership churches and around Leeds. They were both be monthly, each for just for half an hour on Zoom. With my ministry ending in Leeds, I’m not currently able to say whether my group will be continued by anyone else. Announcements will be made as and when.

bird house

Manse for Nicola Robinson

The manse at West Park is being redecorated ready for Nicola to move in. Her plans were to move early August. Please pray that it will be ready in time.

Mission & Care meeting

As we have Clare’s Farewell Service instead of a Mission & Care group meeting this month, the next meeting will be on 5th October, 7 for 7.30pm at Stainbeck URC.


I should like to thank Clare for her thoughtful and prayerful letters to us all each month in the newsletter. We have valued the opportunity it has given her to discuss often contemporary topics and deal with them in the light of our Christian faith. The pandemic brought quite a change to editing the newsletter. I no longer had to fiddle around with articles, fitting them into a booklet format and Clare could illustrate her letters with colour and this she has done each month with the same care she gave to her letters.

We shall miss this aspect of her ministry with us. I do not know what will happen in the coming months. It is possible that Nicola will be willing to support us in this way and I know we should all appreciate this. But, a reminder that, whatever happens, I should really love to hear from you… sharing interests, events, celebrations . . . a book, film that has meant something special to you. Please do not ignore this heart-felt invitation!

The Guild

Thank you for supporting our lunches over the past few months when the facilities and food have been limited. We shall try again this month on 12th July and you will be most welcome if you would like to join us.


The East Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church
the members and friends of Headingley St Columba
to the Induction Service of Revd Clare Suzanne Davison
to the Pastorate of South Lincolnshire Resource Area Churches
Sunday 11th September 2022 at 3.00pm
to be held at
St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Ledbury Road, Peterborough, PE3 9RF
Refreshments will be served after the service
Please reply by 1st August 2022 to Clare

(I’ve been asked to liaise with St Andrew’s Peterborough on numbers)


URC Children
URC Children is a new national umbrella for children aged 0 to 12-years-old connected with the United Reformed Church (URC), is being launched in July through a new prayer initiative. All local congregations are invited to ‘Pray like Hannah’ across the month of July for children.

21% of those worshipping in local URCs are children, with more than double that number involved in other activities and groups. Children have always been important to the life of the URC, and as we celebrate our 50th anniversary it seems timely to renew this commitment formally.

URC Children will seek to provide the support, resourcing, participation, and voice for children within the URC, and those who work with them, that URC Youth provides for young people aged 11-25. It will do this in different, age-appropriate ways, and seeks to help the Church be more child-led in all areas. The Children’s and Youth Work team will be developing tools, training and resources to support local churches in their engagement with children.

Dr Sam Richards, Head of Children’s and Youth, said: “We want to help the whole Church to hear the voice and receive the blessing of children. URC Children will give a clear focus and identity for our youngest disciples.”

URC Children: Prayer Initiative in July—‘Pray like Hannah’
The initiative, briefly, is a call to all churches to pray for children through out July, whether or not they have children in church or children’s activities. As part of the Leeds URC Partnership, there are many children involved in our churches through uniformed organizations, Sunday school/Junior Church groups, youth groups and Messy Churches. The material for prayer will be sent separately by Aleck Brownjohn.

See below for more details:
The story of Hannah is found in 1 Samuel. Hannah is the wife of Elkanah who is unable to bear a child. In her culture this was a terrible thing—a curse, and seen to be the judgement of God. Children were vital to secure the future of the family, the tribe and the nation. It is desperation that drives Hannah to prayer. Her prayer is so passionate that Eli thinks she is drunk! Hannah prayed with devotion, fervour, intensity. So, the first invitation is to pray passionately for children to know they are part of God’s family. It’s as simple as that. It is borne out of a deep longing and love for children and a sense of loss that they are absent from our midst.

“The initiative was started by the Revd Dr Sandra Millar in the Diocese of Gloucester many years ago . . . The URC’s West Midlands Synod ran it in September 2021, and it seems very timely to invite the whole denomination to come together in praying for children across the month of July. “We have adapted materials (with kind permission from Sandra Millar) to reflect not only Hannah’s prayer but also Samuel’s life of faith as a child – as we prayerfully launch URC Children at General Assembly.”

The URC General Assembly, meeting 8-11 July, will be asked to mark the launch of URC Children by resolving afresh to ensure that all structures and councils of the church (local church meeting, Synod and General Assembly) are consistently mindful of the voice of children and of the impact of their decisions on children and future generations.


golden child

As the traditional holiday season approaches, it seems that many decisions are still in the balance. Is it safe or sensible to book for so many reasons? How long is it since one could say ‘How do you fancy a trip to . . . ?’ and the main problems were securing a reservation or fitting in dates.

Aleck and I feel so fortunate, looking back on the wonderful holidays we have shared; the interesting places we have seen, the fascinating insights into the lives of others and the lovely people we have met. Above all, we were able to go to places that are now almost impossible to visit and where ordinary people’s lives have been turned upside down.

The monument above stands at the entrance to Odessa harbour and is by Ernst Neizvestny. It was dedicated to ‘all the brilliant children of Odessa’ and ‘represents something new, nascent, which belongs to the future’. The sculpture was formed in the artist’s New York studio, carefully transported to the Ukraine and cast in bronze in Kyiv; a baby bursting from a flower bud or egg.

We were there for only a couple of days, one of which was a Saturday when we walked through the harbour (past the Golden Child), up the Potemkin steps and into the lovely gardens along the front. One could have been in any French city with elegant buildings and wide boulevards and ‘arranged’ around the gardens were young couples posing for their wedding photos.

The world seemed full of promise. Walls had come down, people felt relaxed and willing to chat—sometimes about the restrictions that they had lived with and the future they hoped for. The idea for ‘Golden Child’ had been conceived at the end of the Second World War in response to the unbroken spirit of the people of Odessa. It was erected in 1995 on the 200th anniversary of the founding of the city and the 50th anniversary of the end of the war—but it also seemed to us, to symbolize the new life coming to the Ukraine following its independence.

So many of those hopes are now dashed as the future for Odessa and the Ukraine are under threat. I have thought of those young couples, probably the parents of young families now, perhaps, split by military service, but certainly living with fear and deprivation. The pictures beamed into our homes day by day show unbearable suffering and we can only pray that this terrible aggression will come to an end, bringing peace and hope to this worn-torn land.