Weekly Update #128 – 23 October

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #128
23rd October 2022

From the Minister                               A Long Time in Politics?

Harold Wilson, UK Prime Minister in both the 1960s and the 1970s, is credited with the phrase, ‘a week is a long time in politics.’ I wonder what he would have said about the pace of political change at the moment. I’m writing this piece on Monday 17th October, not confident that by the time you read it Liz Truss will still be the Prime Minister or that Jeremy Hunt (our fourth Chancellor of the Exchequer this year) will still be in post. I’m sure we all have things to say about this situation, all influenced by our own political beliefs. Regardless of political viewpoint, however, there are a couple of things I think are worth noting. First, events show that there’s a fine line between faith and hubris. Convinced of their rightness by faith-convictions concerning economics, a Prime Minister and Chancellor believed they did not need to take into account the views and feelings of others. They have suffered for it and have put back their own cause. Christians who are confidently convinced of our own rightness on social, economic or faith issues should take note of that. Second, I can’t begin to imagine the depths of stress and accompanying psychological pain those with authority experience when things go so wrong. Whether we regret or rejoice in recent political U-turns, let’s also spare a thought and a prayer for those who have had to do the turning.                                  
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Sovereign God of the nations, we pray for those called to leadership among their fellow people; give them vision to see far into the issues of their time, courage to uphold what they believe to be right, and integrity in their words and motives. May their service to their people promote the welfare and peace of humankind. Amen.

Based on a prayer by Basil Taylor (1911-1988)

Worship Services at Saint Columba’s – Sunday 23rd October
10 .30 a.m. led by Hannah Middleton, Northern Synod Children’s Work Adviser

NEXT SUNDAY – October 30th October
10.30 a.m. led by Trevor Jamison – Reformation Sunday – marking the ‘birth’ of the Reformed church family on October 31st 1517
Also, see below for some changes to the order of things in worship, beginning on that Sunday

Livestreamed Worship from Saint Columba’s

Each Sunday morning we livestream our services from Saint Columba’s. To watch the service live, catch up with it later in the week, or view previous services, go to the link below


Some Changes in Sunday Morning Worship from Sunday October 30th
From Sunday 30th October we’ll be making some small changes to the way we commence worship, and what we do during worship. So that everyone knows what’s happening …

  • The congregation stands, as they are able, as an Elder, accompanied by the worship leader, brings the Bible into Church
  • The congregation sits and the Duty Elder gives essential significant notices (which must be with the Church Secretary by the Friday prior to worship)
  • The Elder lights the candle for a time of silence after which the worship leader starts the service
  • Offerings left at the door as people enter church will be brought forward for an offering prayer just prior to prayers of intercession, or just before communion, as appropriate
  • After the blessing, and music following worship, the worship leader proceeds to the door of the church
Bible readings for this week
Bible readings for Sunday       

Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22              Own up to your failings and put your trust in God
Psalm 84:1-7                                Happy are those whose strength is in you, O God
2 Timothy 4:6-8:16-18                  Keeping faith in God as the end draws near
Luke 18:9-14                                A tax collector owns up to his failings

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

Reflection on the Readings                  Like Apples and Oranges       

Traditionally, in Luke 18:9-14,we’re invited to see the tax collector’s prayer as a good one and the pharisees’ prayer as a bad one, but mostly they are just different. One is a prayer of thanksgiving, and one is a prayer of confession. You might as well try to compare apples and oranges. The pharisee thanks God that he is not a thief, a rogue or an adulterer. Who wouldn’t be thankful not to be one of those? Where his prayer goes wrong is when he compares himself to an individual fellow worshipper: ‘or even like this tax collector.’ The tax collector acknowledges his sin and asks for God’s forgiveness. That’s good as far as it goes, but let’s hope he followed it up with changed actions, not just more words. The chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, is the example to follow here. (Luke 19:8) As for the pharisee, next time he prayed a prayer of confession, let’s hope it included his being needlessly mean about one of his fellow worshippers.
Image: JESUS MAFA. The Pharisee and the Publican, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48268

A hymn that responds to the readings

‘I have fought the good fight …’ (2 Tim. 4:7) The hymn, ‘Fight the good fight with all thy might’, sung by the Scottish Festival Singers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YppcFC8mxKM

News and Notices

Exploring Ephesians
Trevor Jamison continues to lead eight weekly sessions on The Letter to the Ephesians, Thursdays in-person at  Saint Columba’s repeated at 7.15 pm. on Mondays on Zoom. Details about the series is available here
Link take part on Zoom              https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86774647368

Granny’s Attic Sale at Saint Columba’s, Saturday 29th October, 10.00 a.m.

(Please bring your donations of items for sale to the church on
Friday 28th October,
between 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m.)

Next Week’s Update – Sunday October 30th 2022

Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in both the online and printed editions, please have it with him by Tuesday 25th October.

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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