30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #18: Sunday 19th July 2020
From the Minister –
The gate of heaven? The house of God?
‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ (Genesis 28:17) That’s a verse often quoted at church anniversary services, when congregations celebrate in the place where they have gathered for how ever many years. Maybe we should have it on the first Sunday back in our church building, hopefully next month. Place is important, though in the story in Genesis from which this verse comes, the ‘place’ was not a building reserved for worship, but a location in the great outdoors. Jacob’s dream of a ladder connecting earth and heaven reminds us that every place, including the place where you are at the moment, is a place where God is present: ‘the house of God.’
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven, O Lord;
In this land, in every land,
In the cities and the towns,
In the countryside and on the seas,
In this place and every place;
The house of God.
Minister on holiday, 20th – 26th July
Trevor Jamison will be on holiday from the 20th to the 26th July inc. During this time, if you have a significant and urgent concern, please contact the Church Secretary, Alison Drew.
St Columba’s URC – Worship Online on August 2nd at 10.30 a.m.
Continuing with the pattern of a Zoom service on the first Sunday of each month, we next meet online for worship on Sunday August 2nd at 10.30 a.m. This service will be led by Trevor Jamison, with a reflection on the Bible readings from our Synod Moderator, the Reverend Dave Herbert. A recording of the service will be available for those unable to make it on the day.
Back to Church – Survey responses due by Monday 20th July
We intend to re-open the church building for Sunday morning worship on August 16th. Please read the description of how worship will look in this setting here. Then, to enable us to plan, please fill in and return a simple questionnaire, either online here, or by downloading a copy of the form here and responding by email, post, or telephone to Alison Drew.
‘In hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.’ (Romans 8:21) Understandably, we human beings tend to focus upon God granting us the glorious freedom of eternal life. Paul reminds us, however, that God has bigger plans. Not only we but the whole of the rest of creation will be free to be all that we can and should be. Not only, as in Jacob’s dream (Genesis 28) is God present on earth with us (which in itself is amazing), but God intends to save it, including us, and everything else as well.
For further reflections and prayers relating to the readings, including why Jesus taught using parables, click here.
A deeply reflective video of a poem, written by Martin Wroe, echoing Psalm 121, is read by Kevin Whatley, with photographic images by Tom Warburton. It was produced for the Chaplaincy Department at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and can be viewed here.
Eco Group Update and Proposed Church “Bioblitz”
Here’s an update from our church Eco Group (Andrew Atkinson, Louise Charlton, Trevor Jamison, and Wendy Bradley) has been meeting during lockdown.
Our church Eco Group has been using the Eco Church online survey about church life to gauge how eco-friendly St Columba’s is. The areas covered in the survey are ‘worship and teaching’, ‘church buildings’, ‘community and global engagement’, and ‘lifestyle’.
The answers we’ve been able to give so far show that the news is by no means all bad! Now we’re gathering further information to answer questions where our initial reply was, ‘need to find out’. Once the survey’s completed and shared with the congregation, we will start to explore achievable actions which will strengthen us in caring for God’s creation.
Also, we’re having conversations about holding a St Columba’s back garden bioblitz. A bioblitz is an allocated time, say 24 hours, where we observe and note insects, birds, plants, and wildlife in our patch of ground. Then we share the results with each other, including pictures that we can view on our church website and Facebook page. This will include ‘how to’ instructions for insect traps and resources for identifying what we see.
St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation – Saturdays at
Join the conversation on the day by clicking here.
Meeting ID: 871 4985 3228, Password: 068373
To join by telephone, dial this local rate number: 0203 051 2874
Columba Conversations – Final session postponed
to July 30th at 7.15 p.m.
Our conversations pause for a week, with the sixth and final session, (re)exploring things we’re taught as children and might believe as adults, taking place on July 30th. Theme for the session: Be(com)ing a Christian
Meetings will be one hour long. To join the meeting, click on the link or telephone in.
If you can’t join in, don’t hesitate to contact Trevor to request a copy of the handout relating to the meeting
Keeping in Touch
We will keep in touch with each other. Elders will have a list of members and friends to contact each week, both to provide information and to ensure that people are safe and well. You can contact your designated Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.