30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW Weekly Update #175 22nd October 2023
From the Minister Two Conversations
At the Northern Synod October Meeting this year, representatives from around the Synod had conversations about two important elements in church life: community action and talking about faith. A recent survey of URC congregations* notes that community action is one of our strengths. Many URC congregations, most of which are small in numbers, run activities that have a huge, positive impact in their communities. At Synod, we heard about award-winning URC community projects in Roker and Wooler.** We responded to that with a lively discussion. Then we heard how challenging it is for URC people to talk about the reasons why we worship and undertake such fine community activities. Talking about faith is outside our comfort zone. And we demonstrated that in our Synod Meeting. Our conversation was much more subdued than we explored vibrant community action. It’s challenging to talk to others about the beliefs that underlie our actions as a church. Talking with each other, though, is a good place to start. Why do we worship? Why does our church do the things that it does?
* You can find the report, ‘The United Reformed Church: a Paradoxical Church at the Crossroads’ here. ** To view short videos about ‘Roker Life’ and ‘Wooler Warm Hub’ by clicking on them.
Image: The United Reformed Church / Theos.
PrayerGrant, O God, that I may speak so boldly and so lovingly that the greatness of Christ may shine out clearly in my person, through the indwelling of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Donald Coggan, 1909-2000)
WorshipSunday 22nd October
10.30 a.m. We welcome back the Revd Jack Macadam to lead our worship.
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 22nd October
10.30 a.m. Service led by the Revd Dr Trevor Jamison.
Bible readings for this week Isaiah 45:1-7 God chooses an unexpected person to do God’s work
Psalm 96:1-13 God is king over all the nations and over creation
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Good news not just with words, but with power
Matthew 22:15-22 So, is the occupying power in charge or not?
Reflection on the Readings
‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ asks Jesus, when, at his request, he is presented with a coin used by Jewish people in his day to pay taxes to the Roman authorities.(Matthew 22:20) This takes place in response to a question about whether ‘it is lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not.’ (22:17) If Jesus answers the question with a ‘yes’ then some of his fellow Jews will label him as a collaborator with the occupying power – the Roman Empire. If he says, ‘no’ then no doubt someone will inform on him to the Roman authorities, getting him into trouble with them. Jesus’s answer – ‘Give therefore to the emperor he things that are the emperor’s. and to God the things that are God’s’ (22:21) – sidesteps answering the question directly, but could be taken as criticism of all parties. There are some things that the emperor does not get because they are reserved for God. Also, people who use coins with the emperor’s image upon them need to own up to the fact that the emperor has authority over them. What duty do we owe to civil government? How does that relate to the duty we owe to God?
We are sorry to inform you of the death of our fellow church member, Margaret Armstrong. Our prayers and sympathies go to Margaret’s family and friends. On Friday 10th November at 2.30 p.m., at Saint Columba’s, there will be a service of thanksgiving for Margaret’s life, led by the Revd Dr Trevor Jamison.
What Happened at Church Meeting?
At our September Church Meeting we heard about progress in major work on the building, news of social and fundraising events, and agreed plans for a new screen system for use in in our Sunday services. You can read about these, and other matters and decisions, in the minutes of the meeting, which you can find in the email version of the Weekly Update.
Pie, Peas, and Granny’s Attic
A big “thank you” to everyone who supported the Pie and Peas Lunch on Saturday 14th October. As well as being an enjoyable occasion £285 was raised for church funds.
Next up, our Autumn ‘Granny’s Attic’ sale on Saturday 4th November. Donations for sale are welcome anytime. Please contact Norma.
Carol Service Planning Meeting – Monday 13th November
On Monday 13th November we will have a meeting to plan for our Christmas Eve Carol Service, and for how we will publicise our Christmas services this year. This is an open meeting, so if you want to take part just come along to the church on the night. If you can’t be there but have thoughts or suggestions, please contact Trevor Jamison to let him know what they are.
Next Update – Sunday 29th October
Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 29th October edition please have it with him by Tuesday 24th October.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.