Weekly Update #141 – 29 January

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #141
29th January, 2023

From the Minister                                       Jesus and People Like Us?       
There’s a long tradition of artistic representations of Jesus which portray him and his followers as ‘people like us’, whoever ‘us’ may be. Laura James, an African American woman, paints a dark-skinned Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount to a dark-skinned crowd. She does so in a style inspired by Ethiopian religious icons (there have been Ethiopian Christians for a lot longer than there have been Christians in North Shields). Károly Ferenczy (1862-1917), a Hungarian artist, who painted in Austria and Germany, filled the same scene with a light-skinned Jesus preaching to a light-skinned crowd, all dressed appropriately for late nineteenth century Europe (see below). Neither painting is historically accurate, since neither Jesus, nor those who heard his teaching, were African, American or European. Yet both illustrate a truth. Whoever you are, whatever you are, in Jesus Christ, God has come to you, loves you, and is reconciled with you. (And don’t forget, that’s equally the case for everyone else.)


Image: ‘Sermon on the Mount’ by Laura James, 2010www.laurajamesart.com/collections/religious/ Permission granted for non-commercial use.


O Lord, convert the world – and begin with me.


(From China – author unknown)

Worship Services      Sunday 29th January
10.30 a.m. at church          ‘Blessed are …’ A service led by the Revd Dr Trevor Jamison, on the Sermon on the Mount and being a disciple of Jesus in today’s world

6.30 p.m. at church            Our ‘last Sunday of the month’ evening service, on this occasion led by the Revd John Paul

Sunday 5th February

10.30 a.m. at church          A service led by members of the congregation, continuing to explore the Sermon on the Mount. This week’s theme: Salt and Light

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, Click Here 
Bible readings for this week        Baptism of Jesus
Micah 6:1-8   God, more concerned with justice, kindness and humility, than worship
Psalm 15       Don’t mistreat the poor then expect to turn up at worship
1 Corinthians 1:18-31          We proclaim what others find foolish – Christ crucified
Matthew 5:1-12                       ‘Blessed are …’
You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/
Reflection on the Readings                    Up on the hill

Mountains and hills have special significance in the Bible. The great leader of the Jewish people, Moses (who gets referenced in Micah 6:4) was pictured going up the hill to meet with God. Likewise, the Jerusalem temple was on God’s ‘holy hill.’ (Psalm 15:1) And when the Gospel writer, Matthew, wanted to present Jesus’s teaching, he did so in the form of the Sermon on the Mount(ain): ‘when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain.’ (5:1) Also, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is on a mountain when gives his disciples the ‘Great Commission’ to make disciples of all nations. Maybe when we’re up high we feel symbolically closer to God, to heaven. Perhaps the effort expended in getting there prepares us for a significant moment; makes us more receptive to hearing from God.

Image: Károly Ferenczy, ‘Sermon on the Mount’, 1896 – Fine Arts in Hungary:, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5400343

A hymn that responds to the readings

‘Who may worship in your sanctuary, who may find you on your hill?’ – a version of Psalm 15 from Poor Bishop Hooper

To Listen, Click Here

News and Notices

Saturday Coffee Mornings

Please note that there will be no HANDS Saturday coffee mornings in January.  We hope to be able to re-open next month.

People Meeting Jesus: Six Bible Explorations in John’s Gospel

Mondays from 16th January on Zoom and Thursdays from 19th January in-person

What holds people back from meeting with Jesus? Alternatively, what encourages them to do so? And when they meet with Jesus, what results? Anyone from any church (or none) is invited to take part.

To find out more details, please click here.

To join via Zoom, click here.

‘Fruit of the Spirit: Art From the Heart’ – a virtual exhibition

‘Fruits of the Spirit: Art from the Heart’, is a pioneering virtual exhibition from the Art and Religion research strand at the National Gallery. Follow the link to enter the gallery and view a diverse set of paintings, chosen to respond to words from the Apostle Paul’s: ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ (Galatians 5:22, 23)

To find out more, Click Here

Church Action on Poverty Event in North Shields – February 19th 2023

You are invited to a Church Action on Poverty meeting on addressing child poverty. It is due to take place at St Cuthbert’s Roman catholic Church, North Shields, on Sunday 19th February at 3.00 p.m. Speakers include Sir Alan Campbell MP,
Representatives from the Gateshead Poverty Truth Commission, Bay Food Bank, St John’s Baby Bank, and others. For further information, contact Fr. Chris Hughes northshields.stjoseph@rcdhn.org.uk

Next Update – Sunday 5th February 

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 31st January.

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 © 2023 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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