30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #129 30th October 2022
From the Minister Celebrating Schism?
On the 31st of October 1517, in the German university town of Wittenberg, a German monk named Martin Luther posted a list of 95 theses concerning the spiritual state of the Church – 95 reasons for change, or reformation. From that event, and controversies it caused, a whole family of Christian churches and traditions have emerged, including our own Reformed one. Hence the last Sunday of October is marked by many Protestant churches as Reformation Sunday. Important, positive convictions were emphasised in this reformation. These include that we rely totally on God’s grace, not our own limited resources for our salvation; the centrality of scripture in the Christian life, with the Bible available to everyone in their own native language; and a healthy conviction that the Church is sign of God’s kingdom at work on earth, not God’s kingdom itself. The word ‘Protestant’, though, signals that not only is Reformation Sunday a cause for celebration, but also that it’s a sad occasion. This Reformation led to schism, a division in the Church in Western Europe, subsequently exported across the world, and still not healed more than five hundred years later. If there’s a lesson to draw from the sadder side of the Reformation it might be, by all means, argue for what you believe in, but if at all possible don’t make that an occasion to walk away from each other.
Eternal Father, source of love, grant us through the action of the Spirit, the grace to contribute together with all people of good will, to the fulfilment of your Son’s will: “That they may all be one!” Amen.
From a prayer for unity published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo, Texas, USA
WORSHIP SERVICES AT ST COLUMBA’S
Don’t forget! The clocks go back one hour this weekend!
Worship Services at Saint Columba’s – Sunday 30th October 10.30 a.m. service led by the Reverend Dr Trevor Jamison –
Reformation Sunday – marking the ‘birth’ of the Reformed church family on 31st October 1517. Also, see below for some changes to the order of things in worship, beginning on this Sunday
6.30 p.m. service at Saint Columba’s, led by the Reverend Richard Firth
NEXT SUNDAY – 6th November 10.30 a.m. led by a team of Saint Columba’s church members 6.30 p.m. Zoom service led by Trevor Jamison
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 here.
Some Changes in Sunday Morning Worship from Sunday 30th October
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 – Reformation Sunday
Jeremiah 31:31-34 God’s ‘law’ is written into our hearts
Psalm 46 God is our refuge and strength
Romans 3:19-28 God makes us righteous through the gift of faith
John 8:31-26 God acts through Jesus to set us free
These readings are ones that are offered for Reformation Sunday, reflecting themes relating to that event and subsequent developments. The prophet Jeremiah talks of ‘the days that are surely coming’ when everyone knows God and God’s ways in their heart, not through following regulations. Psalm 46 emphasises our total dependence upon God for life and flourishing. The Apostle Paul proclaims that we stand before God as justified people because of God’s grace (which we have responded to in faith), not through human works, good though these may be in themselves. And Jesus, in John’s Gospel, declares that his disciples are those who have heard his ‘word’, and then continue in it, thus knowing the truth and so being made free. Knowing God in your heart, as your refuge and strength, as the one who makes you righteous, and the one who sets you free.
A Safe Stronghold Our God is Still– with music and words come from Martin Luther, and loosely based on Psalm 46, this hymn features defiance of authority, contempt for ‘the devil and all his works’, awareness of our own weaknesses, and an absolute and joyous trust in God.
News and Notices
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.
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.)
Compassion UK Food Crisis Appeal – donations invited on Sunday 30th
The Christian children’s charity Compassion UK, which is already supported by several people in this congregation, is seeking additional funds in combatting hunger. This Sunday a collection box will be available in the church entrance area, where anyone who wishes can make a £1 donation. The box will be available on one Sunday every other month – next appearing in December.
Next Week’s Update – Sunday 6th November
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 1st November.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.