30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW Weekly Update #165 16th July 2023
Fromthe Minister Get Rid of that Mouse …
Has a British government minister cancelled Mickey Mouse? It seems so. Robert Jenrick, the Immigration minister in our UK government, ordered that wall murals depicting Mickey and some of his pals be painted over at the Kent intake centre which receives unaccompanied children who have made it across the English Channel in small boats. It is said he thought the images were too welcoming. Subsequently, he has claimed that they were not age appropriate as many of those arriving at the centre are teenagers. He added that if someone comes to the UK, ‘we’ll treat them with decency and compassion at all times.’ Christian faith has roots in Jewish faith in which welcoming the stranger or foreigner is a duty. I can’t think of a Christian reason to paint out Mickey Mouse. It’s not welcoming, it doesn’t seem to encourage hope, it doesn’t express love – and there are plenty of teenagers who love Disney. Migration is a big challenge for our nation, but in this instance we only had to do nothing in order to do better.
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.
Based on a prayer by Basil Taylor (1911-1988)
WorshipSunday 16th July
10.30 a.m. service at church – led by Trevor Jamison – featuring ‘toilet twinning’! See below for information about ‘toilet twinning.’
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
NEXT WEEK – Sunday 23rd July
10.30 a.m. service at church, led by Trevor Jamison, beginning a series of services where we follow the story of Joseph, and what that says to us today about God and the world (see below for more details)
Bible readings for this week (from the Revised Common Lectionary)
Isaiah 55:1-13 God’s word is like life-giving rain
Psalm 65:1-13 The God of salvation is also the God of creation
Romans 8:1-11 ‘Christ Jesus has set you free …’
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 The parable of the sower … and one explanation of it You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/
Reflection on the Readings
Today’s Matthew reading features Jesus teaching by telling parables. It’s something he was well known for doing. I grew up being told that ‘a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning,’ and there’s a lot in that. Parables are certainly ‘earthy’ – they are located in everyday life, often featuring images of growth, such as mustard seeds becoming trees, or yeast expanding bread. Seeds feature in this parable in Matthew 13, but growth is not guaranteed. The ground may be stony, the sun too hot, the weeds too strong, or the birds too hungry. (If Jesus had lived in North Shields I’m sure the birds in his parable would be gulls!) Verses 18-23 provide an explanation of the ‘heavenly meaning’ of this earthly parable, either from Jesus or from Matthew. I’m wary of anything presented the explanation of a parable though. I think Jesus used parables in order to encourage people to think for themselves – to hear the story and then ask what it meant for their situations. Listen to the parable again, asking ‘what does this mean for me?’ And remember, a ‘heavenly meaning’ might be about what happens here on earth.
A hymn that responds to the readings
‘Christ you waked among the grain fields’ is a hymn by the American Presbyterian hymn writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. We will be singing it at church this Sunday.
Hear it during sung in worship at Elkin Presbyterian Church, NC, USA. Click Here
Sunday 16th July – Fundraising effort for “Toilet Twinning”
Toilet Twinningis a charity which since 2010 has been funding global water and sanitation programmes run by the Christian charity Tearfund. They invite us to “twin” our toilets and so help to fund communities elsewhere in the world to build their own basic toilet, access clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that saves lives.
At our Church Meeting on 20th June we were invited to toilet-twin through this scheme, and were so enthused we decided to twin all five church toilets, through donating sixty pounds per toilet: £300 to be raised!
So, at our morning service on Sunday 16th July, we will hear and pray about the work and hold a collection for this work. Please give as you are able and feel appropriate.
23rd July onwards – Joseph: More Than a Fancy Coat
We will follow the story of Joseph week by week during July and August
From Sunday 23rd July in 10.30 a.m. morning services – in person or via live stream
From Monday 24th July in a discussion group – via Zoom at 7.15 p.m. Click Here to Join the Meeting
From Thursday 27th July in-person discussion group at church at 7.15 p.m.
It’s a tale so good they made it into a musical! The stuff of dreams – or should that be nightmares? Violence, trafficking into slavery, sexual harassment, jail time, power politics, and family dysfunction. Can dreams come true? Is God at work? Will there be a happy ending? Then or now?
Join with others, at Saint Columba’s, North Shields to discuss the original, biblical story of Joseph, son of Jacob, and what it says to us about some of today’s big questions Photo by Moodthy Alghorairi on Unsplash
At our Church Meeting on June 20th, we accepted a new member into the congregation, discussed our use of screens in worship, and agreed to ‘twin’ our toilets with ones elsewhere in the world! The minutes of the Meeting are now available and can be viewed in the email version of the Weekly Update.
Next Update – Sunday 23rd July
Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 23rd July edition please have it with him by Tuesday 18th July.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.