Weekly Update #159 – 4 June

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #159          4th June 2023
From the Minister               Beyond Understanding               

Atriquetra-circle interlaced scientist won the Nobel Prize for Physics. He was interviewed by a journalist who asked that he explain his prize-winning work, but do so ‘in a way that the average person can understand.’ ‘Well,’ replied the scientist, ’if this was something that the average person could understand they’d hardly give me a Nobel Prize for it, would they?’ Sometimes things are just complicated and beyond our understanding. Simple explanations don’t do justice to it, or even mislead us about the thing being described. That’s true about attempts to explain the Holy Trinity. God is three ‘persons’, but also one God – how does that work?! Today is Trinity Sunday, so in lots of churches worship leaders and preachers will take a shot at providing an explanation that people can understand, and which does justice to reality. They won’t succeed. Now I don’t know much about how computers work. When someone explains them in greater detail my eyes glaze over. But I don’t have to understand them. Instead, I experience them, accept their existence, and enjoy the benefits they bring to me. I’ve experienced God’s work in creation. I’ve experienced God’s work in Jesus Christ. I experience God at work through the Holy Spirit. And it’s all the one God. I don’t expect ever to understand that, but I’m happy to enjoy its benefits.


ImageTriquetra interlaced with a circle, by AnonMoos (initial SVG conversion of PostScript source by AnonMoos was done by Indolences), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

p.s. If anyone wants to have a conversation abut what the Holy Trinity is about, just ask, because I love that sort of thing!
p.p.s. If you want to see attempts at explanation fail spectacularly, try this.


Holy God, faithful and unchanging: enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth, and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love, that we may truly worship you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

From ‘Common Worship’ © The Archbishops’ Council, 2006.

Worship    Sunday 4th June  – Trinity Sunday

10.30 a.m. Service  led by the Revd Ted Marley OBE.

(Trevor Jamison is leading worship at Saint Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton).

Livestreamed Worship from Saint Columba’s

To watch the morning service live, catch up with it later in the week, or view previous services, click here

Sunday 11th June

10.30 a.m. Communion service – led by Trevor Jamison.

Bible readings for this week (from the Revised Common Lectionary)
Genesis 1:1-2:4a                 A wind/breath/spirit from/of God at creation
Psalm 8                              God the Sovereign over creation
2 Corinthians 13:11-13       The grace, love and communion of God
Matthew 28:16-20              ‘In the name of the Father … Son … Holy Spirit’

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

Reflection on the Readings

‘While a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.’ (Gen. 1:2) In my Bible there’s a footnote giving alternatives: ‘while the Spirit of God …’ or ‘while a mighty wind …’ We’re one week after Pentecost, when ‘from heaven’ the sound of a ‘violent wind’ filled the house where disciples where staying. (Acts 2:2) With that experience in mind it’s very hard for Christians to read Genesis 1:2 and not identify the ‘wind from God’ with the ‘Spirit of God’; with the Holy Spirit. Right at the beginning of things God was there, breathing life into creation. The God that we know in and through Jesus Christ was there before anything came into being. So Christ was there at the beginning. We hear that every Christmas: ‘He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him …’ (John 1:3) It’s the same God – three persons who are one – who is at work at creation; at work in the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; present, with and within us today. God is always ‘Father’, ‘Son’, and ‘Holy Spirit’.

A hymn that responds to the readings

She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters, hovering on the chaos of the world’s first day …‘ – a hymn by John Bell and Graham Maule, connecting the Holy Spirit with creation, Pentecost, and inspiration to action.

News and Notices

3rd June – No Saturday Coffee Morning

Please note that there will be no Saturday coffee morning on 3rd June.

3rd June – Catching the coach to Alnwick

URC Northern Synod logoThose booked to attend the Northern Synod event at The Alnwick Garden are reminded that the coach leaves Saint Columba’s at 9.00 a.m. Please bring your money for the bus in an envelope – exact amount if possible please. Contact Mathew ASAP if you have any questions.

10th June – Pearey House 150th Celebration Garden Party

Pearey House logoEveryone is invited to the Pearey House Centre for Visually Disabled 150th anniversary garden party on Saturday 10th June, 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. https://www.peareyhouse.co.uk/events

On Sunday 4th June, Mathew will be selling raffle tickets after the morning service in support of Pearey House. (Fifty pence a ticket or £2.50 for a book of tickets).

14th June – Deadline for Church Pioneer Worker applications

Saint Columba’s has been successful in its bid to have a URC Synod Pioneer Worker based with us in North Shields. The post is for twenty hours per week, and for two years in the first instance.

The person appointed will help, support and strengthen current activities where we are most effective in engaging with others. Also, they will pioneer new opportunities in North Shields for working with children, young people and families, exploring faith in everyday life.

A job description has been agreed and the post is being advertised, with a closing date for applications on 14th June, and the intention of holding interviews on 24th June. Please share the advertisement for this post with anyone you know who might be interested in applying, or who might share it more widely. You can view the advertisement here.

24th June – The Sound of Music? – get your tickets now!

concert flyerA musical evening with Paul Elliott and other invited performers, at Saint Columba’s on Saturday 24th June at 7.00 p.m.

Tickets are £8.00 and are available from Lisa this Sunday, or Norma on subsequent Sundays.

A volunteer found, another still sought

Thank you to the person who has agreed to look after the church electronic key fob system. Now all we need is someone to look after the heating timings and settings.

This job takes about half an hour maximum, depending how much has
changed since the previous week. Activities taking place are listed on the online church calendar which is maintained by the Bookings Secretary. Using the calendar, the heating is set for each of the activities taking place. Settings can be updated on the heating control panel in the church boiler room, or remotely, using online access. It is also necessary to check occasionally to see if there are any warning lights on the control panel. Detailed training will be offered to anyone willing to take on or assist with this task. Please contact Keith for further information or Church Secretary, Alison Drew, to make an offer.

Next Update – Sunday 11th June

Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 11th June edition, please have it with him by Tuesday 6th June.

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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