Weekly Update #162 – 25 June

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #162         25th June 2023
From the Minister                           For All Those In Peril On The Sea

At the time of writing, the news is full of the search for missing Ocean Gate submarine which was visiting the wreck of the Titanic in the deeps of the Atlantic Ocean. Five people are on board, and no one would want to be in their situation, or that of their families and loved ones. Nor would one want to be in the position of the hundreds who drowned in the Mediterranean off the coast of Greece last week, or that of their families and loved ones. I’ve been wondering why the situation of five people has attracted as much or more media attention as the fate of five hundred in a comparable situation. Of course, there’s the link with the Titanic, which continues to fascinate so many people in UK and North America. Also it’s an unusual event, unlike migrants dying at sea. And then this situation involves people who are very wealthy, not poor. Five poor migrants lost at sea would not merit a mention, never mind a headline. It would be wrong to play off the situation of one group against the other, trying to make some moral point. I imagine God is as aware and concerned about five as about five hundred (one of today’s Bible readings includes Jesus saying that God is concerned even about individual sparrows). Trying to see things through God’s eyes encourages us to care for those five as much as we care for the five hundred, or any five among that five hundred.


Image: Photo by Joel Vodell on Unsplash

O MOST glorious and gracious Lord God, who dwellest in heaven, but beholdest all things below, send thy word of command to rebuke the raging winds, and the roaring sea; that we, being delivered from this distress, may live to serve thee, and to glorify thy Name all the days of our life.


Church of England – from ‘Prayers to be Used at Sea’ (adapted)

Worship   Sunday 25th June

10.30 a.m. service at church – led by Trevor Jamison – on the theme of ‘Where is God when things are going wrong?’

6.30 p.m. service at church – led by Trevor Jamison – prayer, song, scripture, and times of quiet, reflecting on
change which leads to maturity, fruitfulness, and wisdom

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

Bible readings for this week (from the Revised Common Lectionary)
Genesis 21:8-21                   Strife in the family threatens the life of a mother and child
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17          A cry for help to God from one in danger
Romans 6:1b-11                   Christ died so that we can live well, not live badly
Matthew 10:24-39                Be like Jesus, but it might cause problems in the family

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

Reflection on the Readings

Adults are known to tell children to ‘play nicely together’ but sometimes they would do well to heed their own advice. Abraham had a son, Ishmael, with his servant, Hagar. This was at the suggestion of his wife, Sarah, who at that time was not able to have a child. Now Abraham and Sarah have had a child, Isaac, who happily plays with Ishmael. (Genesis 21:8) Sarah sees this and can’t bear the sight of it. (9) She demands that Abraham get rid of Hagar and Ishmael, to ensure that only her son will inherit. (10) Abraham, we’re told, is very distressed ‘on account of his son’ (but apparently not so much about his son’s mother).(11) So Hagar and Ishmael are despatched off into the wilderness, probably to die: out of sight, out of mind. (14) God is ok with this for two reasons. First, the focus has to be on Isaac because through him and his offspring the story will continue. But second, God will also look after Hagar, Ishmael and their descendants. (13) Would that Abraham and Sarah were able to care about others, not just those they saw as being ‘their own.’

Image: Abraham casting out Hagar and Ishmael. Needlework. Burrell Collection, Glasgow. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54264

A hymn that responds to the readings
‘Hear me God as I call again’ – a version of Psalm 86, performed by Poor Bishop Hooper ( Jesse and Leah Roberts)

To Listen Click Here,

News and Notices

Roberta Ritson – going to her ordination and induction service?
Roberta Ritson, who had a placement at Saint Columba’s as a student minister has competed her training and is to become minister at Bellingham, Wark and Horsley. The service of ordination and induction will be at the church at Bellingham on Saturday 22nd July at 2.00 p.m. If you wish to go to the service please sign up on the sheet in the church hall or let Mathew know this week, and we will see about hiring a coach for the occasion.

Strawberry Fayre – gifts sought – cakes to be baked

After a three-year gap, the St Columba’s Strawberry Fayre returns on Saturday 8th July! Gifts are being sought for the tombola. Please give these to Evelyn or Norma.

Members of HANDS are baking for the cake stall, but it’s not exclusive and contributions form all bakers will be accepted!

Image: Photo by Tangerine Newt on Unsplash

Annual Church Meeting Minutes
The minutes of this year’s Annual Church Meeting are now available and can be viewed on the email version of the Weekly Update.
Key found

A key was found in the church after the morning service on the 18th June. If you are the owner of the key contact the Church Secretary in order to be reunited with it.

June 30th – July 3rd – URC General Assembly Meets

The Annual General Assembly of the United Reformed Church takes place from June 30th to July 3rd at the Hayes Conference centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Representatives from the URC’s thirteen Synods will meet to discuss and make decisions about the life of our denomination. The Assembly sessions will be live-streamed from the URC website www.urc.org.uk

To see what’s due to be discussed, see the Book of Reports and other documents relating to this year’s Assembly, Please Click Here 

Next Update – Sunday 2nd July

Andrew Atkinson will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 2nd July edition please have it with him by Tuesday 27th 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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