Weekly Update #118 – 24 July

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #118
24th July 2022

From the Minister              Weddings on the Beach?

The Law Commission is Giants Causewayrecommending to the Westminster Government that the law relating to marriage ceremonies in England and Wales should be overhauled. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62209136

The headlines trumpet that couples could get married on the beach, since it would be the officiant, not the venue that had to be licenced. (This would bring England into line with how things are in Scotland.) I once witnessed a wedding take place at the Giant’s Causeway on the north coast of Ireland. It was the first time that the National Trust allowed this to happen. Whilst bemused tourists looked on a traditionally dressed wedding party appeared and made its way across the hexagonal-shaped rocks so that the happy couple could ‘tie the knot’ by the sea. Less happily, one of the bridesmaids turned her high-heeled ankle only a few yards into the journey and had to be carried off the ‘field of play’ for medical attention. Then the tourists discovered that the National Trust had unilaterally reserved the shuttle bus that goes back to the visitors’ centre for the sole use of the wedding party. Following a ‘free and frank exchange of views’ that decision was reversed. From what I have read, the Law Commission proposals sound sensible, and I wish all couples well. Of course, wherever and however people have their ‘happy day’, it’s only day one of a marriage.


Image of the Giant’s Causeway by H. Hach from Pixabay


Eternal God, whose love is ever faithful, and whose promises never fail, we pray for your blessing on all marriages. May those who marry grow in love, honour one another, and be filled with joy in their future days. Amen.

(Inspired by a prayer in the ‘Blessing of a Marriage’ service in the URC Worship Book)


Morning Worship 10.30 a.m. at the Church
A service is led by the Reverend Jack Macadam
(Trevor Jamison is leading worship at the URC East Cleveland Group of Churches)

NEXT WEEK – Sunday 31st July

Morning Worship 10.30 a.m. at the Church
A service led by Trevor Jamison, including the baptism of Nicolas, and welcoming his family and friends to worship.

Evening Worship 6.00 p.m. at the Church
(Note the earlier time for this evening service)

A Service to Remember Those Who Have Died During a Time of Covid –
see below for more information about this service.

Missed the minister’s sermon, or want to read what you heard? Don’t forget, most of Trevor’s sermons are subsequently published on the church website https://northshieldsurc.org.uk/category/news/sermons/

Bible readings for this week

Genesis 18:20-32                  Abraham negotiates with God in order to save lives
Psalm 138                             God listened to the call of the psalmist
Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)     Focus on Jesus before the rules and regulations
Luke 11:1-13                          A disciple asks Jesus to teach them how to pray
You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/

Reflection on the readings
praying manDoes God listen to our prayers? If so, why are we still waiting for answers to so many of them? These are questions lots of people ask, including ourselves. In this week’s readings the writer of Genesis is convinced that Abraham successfully negotiated with God for a ‘stay of execution’ for Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s rather disturbing, though, to think that God can have a change of mind, and that we can make that happen through prayer. The psalmist is convinced that God heard their prayer (138:3) and I think that God has listened to some of mine over the years, but you can’t prove that to the satisfaction of all. So, as the epistle reading suggests, we’re best to focus on Jesus for how we understand things and make decisions about our actions. A disciple asked Jesus how to pray and Jesus came up with The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4). Jesus continued, with a story about persisting in prayer (5-8) and with a reassurance that God is loving, and gives us what is good for us in response to requests (9-13). Pray, keep on praying, and trust in God’s love.

Image by waldryano from Pixabay

A Hymn that responds to the readings

What a Friend We Have in Jesus – “what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer” – sung by the choir of First Plymouth Church, Lincoln, Nebraska

And an acapella version

News and Notices

Greed in a World of Poverty and Wealth

more flamesSecond of three Bible exploration sessions on God, Greed and Truth, led by Trevor Jamison – on Zoom and in-person – open to all.
On Zoom, Monday 25th July at 7.15 p.m.
To join Zoom meeting, click here.
Meeting ID: 861 6906 2947
Phone: 0131 460 1196

Repeated in-person at Saint Columba’s, on Thursday 28th July, at 7.15 p.m.

In Luke 16:19-31 a wealthy man hangs on to his riches despite seeing a poor man lying at his gate. Then their situations of comfort and suffering are reversed. What constitutes enough as far as riches is concerned? What can today’s poor expect from others?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A Service to Remember Those Who Have Died During a Time of Covid
On Sunday 31st July at 6.00 p.m., Saint Columba’s Church, North Shields.

We are returning to a something close to the “normality” that preceded the Covid pandemic, and we will mark that on September 4th with a service of thanksgiving and celebration.

First, though, we will acknowledge difficult times, remembering those who died during 2020, 2021, and earlier this year. Family, friends, and anyone you know who might find this service helpful are warmly invited.

The service will last for approximately forty-five minutes. It will include music,
prayers, readings and a reflection. The names of those known to the congregation who have died will be read aloud. There will be an opportunity during the service to light a candle in memory of each one. Then, after the service, there will be tea, coffee and light refreshments in the church hall, with giving time for conversation and reminiscence.

If there is a name that you would like to be included among those remembered,
please contact Alison Drew. If you intend to be at the service, please let Alison know by Thursday 28th July, to help with catering arrangements, but if you are not able to say in advance don’t let that prevent you from being there.

Saturday Morning Coffee takes a break in August

mugsSaturday morning coffee at the church hall is taking a break for the month of August, but will resume again in September.

Image by Nicole Köhler from Pixabay

Photo montage group for URC 50th Anniversary service – members sought
URC 50 logoThe United Reformed Church came into being in October 1972, fifty years ago.. At Saint Columba’s we will mark this golden jubilee in our morning service on 2nd October. We intend to create a montage of images to show on screen during the service, reflecting events and activities in the life of St Columba’s URC and the wider world during these five decades. We are forming a small group to collect, organise and choose images which will be in slideshow at the service. If you would like to be part of that group please contact Trevor Jamison by Monday 25th July.

Image: The United Reformed Church

Saint Columba’s Social Events Team – Dates for your Diary

Saturday 13th August – Granny’s Attic Sale 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m.
(Bring items for sale to church on Friday 12th August, between 2 and 4 p.m.)

Monday 29th August – Official Opening of the revamped Northumberland Square
(We’ll be offering refreshments on the day – offers of help on the day, and of scones and traybakes to Norma, please)

Saturday 10th September – Heritage Open Day – church open for visitors
(As above, offers of help on the day, and of scones and traybakes to Norma, please)

URC General Assembly Business Digest

Read a handy summary of the business covered and decisions made at the recent URC General Assembly here – including decisions on training church pioneer workers, reviewing the URC’s present and future as a denomination, and the Community Project Awards, where Roker URC came out as a winner!

(Not the) ‘Spot the Minister’ Competition

Korea vote
So, did Trevor Jamison really go to URC General Assembly? Enlarge the photo to see if you can find him!

Image: The United Reformed Church

Next Week’s Update

Next week’s Update will be edited by Trevor Jamison.  To get your information in both the online and printed editions, please have it with him by Tuesday.

Keeping in Touch

You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.

Minister: The Reverend Dr Trevor Jamison     Church Secretary: Alison Drew
minister.northshieldsurc@gmail.com               [email protected]
0191 290 1193         07896 899538                 0191 251 9774

Copyright © 2022 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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