30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW Weekly Update #186 – 14th January 2024
From the Minister A True Story
Between 1999 and 2015 more than seven hundred sub-postmasters were accused of wrongdoing, based on information from what was known to be a faulty computerised accounting system. Despite knowing that the system had problems the Post Office pressed on with prosecutions, resulting in some going to jail and others being financially ruined. This massive injustice is old news, yet it has become big news in 2023. Why? There have already been inquiries, reports, and even documentaries, demonstrating what had taken place. Yet things only really began to move when the story was presented as a drama on ITV. Now, in the face of national outrage, government ministers are (at last) rushing to put things right (as far as possible that things can ever be put right for those affected). Why did it take a drama to make a difference? It’s the power of storytelling. A story has the capacity to tell a truth in a way other genres do not. Simply knowing a set of facts about something does not necessarily move us, though getting the facts right is important in telling story like the Post Office Scandal. Story invites us into a situation, to imagine it for ourselves – to feel the truth of a situation. When you feel it, you are more likely to respond to it. So, for example, it’s when people hear the stories of Jesus and his followers, and get the chance to inhabit those stories for themselves, that they discover and respond to the truth about God’s love for them and for others such as ourselves.
O God, help me to hear again the stories of Jesus, and in them to (re)discover the truth about you. Help me to listen to the stories of others, including those of undeserved suffering, and respond in ways that help and bring justice. Amen.
Worship Sunday 14th January
10.30 a.m. A communion service led by Trevor Jamison – at this service we hope to welcome representatives from the Fishermen’s Mission and Little1Stop, North Shields – organisations for which we collected money during the Christmas period.
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 21st January
10.30 a.m. A service led by the Revd Louise Sanders, Minister, Saint Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton. This service takes place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January).
Genesis 1:1-5 ‘A wind from God swept over the face of the waters’
Psalm 29 ‘The voice of the Lord is over the waters’
Acts 19:1-7 Paul talks about baptism with believers in Ephesus
Mark 1:4-11 Jesus is baptised and God’s Spirit hovers over the Jordan water
Reflection on the Readings Jesus is Baptised
In the picture John the Baptist has dispensed with his camel’s hair overclothing and the leather belt that held it together. (Mark 1:6) He is baptising with water the one that he said would baptise others with the Holy Spirit (1:8); that is, he’s baptising Jesus. And Jesus’s baptism is the occasion for an appearance of the Holy Spirit: ‘just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.’ (1:10) In his Gospel, Mark emphasises that Jesus was aware of the Spirit’s presence: ‘he saw.’ Sometimes people want to ask, why Jesus was baptised, when John said that his baptism was ‘a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.’ (1:4) After all, wasn’t Jesus supposed to be without sin? The answer given to that is usually that Jesus did not have to be baptised for that reason but did so in order to demonstrate solidarity with us sinners. That’s a comforting thought for us. That Jesus could see the Spirit descending on him, however, would also have been a comfort for Jesus – a confirmation that he was equipped for the task ahead.
Please have your contributions for the February edition of the church magazine with Catherine by Monday 29th January.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service – Wednesday 17th January, 7.30 p.m.
Churches Together in North Shields will be holding a service of prayer for Christian unity at Saint Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday 17th January at 7.30 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come along and take part. The service will be followed by refreshments, and then a short Churches Together Forum meeting.
Next Update – Sunday 21st January 2024
Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 21st January edition, please have it with him by Tuesday 16th January.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.