Weekly Update #187 – 21 January

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #187 – 21st January 2024
From the Minister               Why do you have a fish stuck on the cross?

Why do you have a fish stuck on the cross?’ That was a question to me from a Year 3 pupil during a primary school visit to Saint Columba’s last December. That’s a good question, because if you look around Saint Columba’s you will see several examples of this image of the fish on the cross. One answer to the question is, ‘it’s the logo for the United Reformed Church.’ The next question, though, will be, ‘why has the URC decided to have a logo with a fish stuck on a cross?’ Well there are a couple of reasons. One is that Jesus’s first disciples were fishermen and he called on them to go fishing for people instead (see the Bible readings below). Another is that the fish was a very early symbol for Christians. The ancient Greek word for fish was ‘icthus’, and its letters were an acronym for ‘Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour. So when you see the fish on the cross ….

p.s. Another good question might be, ‘Why do you have a picture of an instrument of execution along with the fish on your logo?’ (Unless, of course, there is some good news associated with it.)                                   

Worship    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)

(Trevor Jamison will be leading worship at Monkseaton)

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 28th January

10.30 a.m.     A service led by the Revd Kim Plumpton, Synod Moderator, URC Northern Synod

(Trevor Jamison will be leading worship at St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, Newcastle)

6.30 p.m.       Our first evening service of 2024, led by the Revd Dr Trevor Jamison

Bible readings

Jonah 3:1-5, 10                    God decides against bringing calamity
Psalm 62:5-12                      ‘Steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord’
1 Corinthians 7:29-31          ‘The present form of this world is passing away’
Mark 1:14-20                         Jesus calls disciples to go fishing for people

Reflection on the Readings

There’s a lot of urgency in Mark’s Gospel. One of his favourite words is ‘immediately’ and we get to read it twice here in Mark 1:14-20. Things happen quickly: John is arrested. Jesus comes to Galilee, ‘proclaiming the good news of God’. He calls Simon and Andrew who respond ‘immediately.’ He sees James and John, and ‘immediately’ he calls them. In response, they down tools and walk off the job at once. It’s quite breathless, and also rather different from how most of us have encountered and responded to Jesus. Most people respond to Jesus’s call over time, not in an instant. Yes, some do respond immediately, like the four in the Gospel, but what happens here at Galilee is not a one-size-fits-all model for responding to Jesus. Some things do remain constant across the ages and different life situations though. Jesus brings good news about God. Jesus calls people to follow him, and to encourage others to do so as well. It’s all a bit daunting – or exciting!

Image: Detail from window at Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Tullow, Ireland. Walsh, George. Jesus Fish with Cross, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56393 [retrieved January 17, 2024].

A hymn that responds to the reflection

‘Lord , you have come to the sea shore’ by Cesario Gabarain (1936-1991), here sung by Chris Brunelle

To Listen, Click Here

News and Notices 

February Magazine deadline for contributions

Please have your contributions for the February edition of the church magazine with Catherine by Monday 29th January.

Collection for Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter

A message from Lisa “Following a discussion at our Church Meeting I volunteered to organise some fundraising for the Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter. The Cat and Dog Shelter is currently closed to the public so I will make a donation of money at the end of January. A box will be placed in the main entrance of the church from next Sunday, 21 January and also on 28 January – all donations will be gratefully received. Thank you.

Photo: Lisa and Poppy

Next Update – Sunday 28th January 2024

Trevor Jamison will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 28th January edition, please have it with him by Tuesday 23rd January.

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 © 2024 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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