Weekly Update #12: Sunday 7 June

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #12: Sunday 7th June 2020 – Trinity Sunday

From the Minister – Celebrating, not Explaining

Many preachers are breathing a sigh of relief this Sunday because they are not going to have to preach a sermon to explain the doctrine of the Trinity – what Christians believe about God’s three-in-oneness.I think that gets things the wrong way around: the doctrine is the explanation, not the thing to be explained. We Christians see God everywhere in all creation, yet at the same time, we think we have met him in one person in one place at one time: Jesus Christ. Yet again, whilst Jesus is gone from earth, we still experience his presence – God’s presence – in the here and now (Spiritually). The doctrine of the Trinity is the Church’s attempt to explain that. So, I’ve (mostly) given up trying to explain the doctrine itself. I just celebrate the experience of God it points towards, and I invite you to do the same.


* Click here for a cartoon video of Saint Patrick deploying bad analogies to explain this doctrine (probably not suitable for young children)

Image: Fr. A. J. Thamburaj, SJ (Indian, 1939–), The Holy Trinity, before 1982. Oil painting, 23 × 33 in.


O God our mystery,
You bring us to life,
Call us to freedom,
And move between us with love.
May we so participate
In the dance of your trinity,
That our lives may resonate with you,
Now and forever. Amen.

Janet Morley, “All Desires Known”, 1988.

Worship on Pentecost Sunday

  Image by Cindy Caldwell  – UMC.org

Thirty-five households came together for St Columba’s Pentecost worship on Sunday 31st May. People connected online or by telephone to see and/or hear hymns, readings, prayers, and a reflection. We also shared together in an online communion. Plans are being made for offering more services. Please contact Trevor by email or phone to let him know how well (or not) Pentecost worship worked for you, and how frequently you would like such services to happen.

Options for Worshipping at home this Sunday

Online           URC audio service (https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ )           10.00 a.m.

Radio            Radio 4          Sunday Worship                                          8.10 a.m.

Television      BBC1             Sunday Worship                                         10.45 a.m.
Songs of Praise                                           1.15 p.m.

DISCLAIMER: TV and Radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!

Bible readings for Sunday

From the Revised Common Lectionary
Genesis 1:1-2:4a                  God creates and then rests to enjoy creation

Psalm 8                                How majestic is God’s name in all the earth
To hear a haunting version of Psalm 8, click on this link.

2 Corinthians 13:11-13         ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God …’

Matthew 28:16-20                 Baptising in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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

Reflection on the Readings

‘The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ But I was expecting ‘fellowship’! ‘Communion’ is how the New Revised Standard Version renders the last verse of Paul’s letter. (It also offers the alternative of ‘sharing in’, but that’s not ‘fellowship’ either.) ‘Fellowship’ is what most translations offer. But the NRSV is not on its own, for ‘communion’ is what appears in the Authorised Version. (In The Message it’s ‘intimate fellowship’ that’s on offer.) I wonder if familiarity means I take ‘fellowship’ a bit for granted when I say ‘The Grace’. Maybe I’ll try a few of the alternatives: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the God and communion/sharing in/intimate fellowship [delete as applicable] of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

For further reflections and prayers relating to these readings, click here.

A Sonnet for Trinity Sunday

Last week’s Weekly Update included a poem by Malcolm Guite on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. This week, here’s his poem for Trinity Sunday, also taken from his book, Sounding the Seasons.

In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,
And makes us each the other’s inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us and within.

To hear the poem, read by its author click on this link.

Rediscovering Rowland

Rediscovering Rowland is a newly released, short video about the life of Rowland Lishman – businessman, philanthropist, social activist, member of St Columba’s, and much more. The video, made for Local History Month, includes references and images featuring North Shields, the Square Building Trust, and our church. To view the video, click here.

St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation – Saturdays at
10.00 a.m.

Join the conversation on the day by clicking here.
Meeting ID: 875 3715 2643, Password: 704929

To join by telephone, dial this local rate number: 0203 051 2874

For information or help, contact Mathew Hall: 07792782647 or

Online Prayer Gathering on Sundays at 6.30 p.m.

A thirty-minute opportunity for prayer together and hand it all to God, including learning a shared signed-response to some prayers.

For further information, contact Charlene Clark charleneclark@hotmail.co.uk
To join, when the time comes click here.
Password: 925969

Bible Exploration series on Jonah – Tuesday 9th June at 7.15p.m.

4 – Jonah’s anger and God’s mercy

Meetings will be one hour long, including spending some time in smaller groups to enable better discussion.

To join the meeting, click on this link.

Alternatively, you can join by dialling this local rate number: 0131 460 1196
Meeting ID: 864 0582 7053 (password not required)

If you can’t join in online, don’t hesitate to contact Trevor to request a copy of a reflection and the questions relating to the reading.

Also, here’s a Sermon on Jonah Chapter 3 which Trevor Jamison preached some years ago.

Keeping in Touch

We will keep in touch with each other. Elders will have a list of members and friends to contact each week, both to provide information and to ensure that people are safe and well. 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 © 2020 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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