Weekly Update #191 – 18 February

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #191 – 18th February 2024
1st Sunday of Lent
Hello again everyone, from John.

We seem to have had quite a lot of rain lately, indeed we could imagine that we have had more than our fair share. In the North East we have been very fortunate that we have not suffered as much as other areas of UK. It would be really nice to get outside to start cutting the lawn again, it looks like a field of grass!
We need water for life, for washing, for cooking. When we have a drought and are rationed, we miss the ready access to a nice glass of clean cool water, but we can have too much of it and it disrupts our lives, causes accidents and death in some cases. It is all down to Climate Change, we hear. That may be so but are we not capable of managing this resource better given all our engineering expertise? Remember when Kielder Dam was built to ensure lasting supply of water for Teesside industry etc. We don’t even prevent our streets getting flooded now because we cannot manage our drainage systems.

The rainbow is a beautiful sight, God can do amazing things around us, but we definitely need to take our responsibilities right to our heart, as a nation, as a community, as a church and individually. We need to do all we can in ”Caring for time, creation, community, work and spiritual gifts” in every way that we can, not just His creation but in other ways as we will discover in worship over the coming weeks.

PrayerLord, during this time of Lent as we remember the events leading up to Easter, we think how the world has changed since Christ was walking on it, and how mankind has changed. Teach us, guide us, help us to regain our respect and love for all around us that we may become a caring world, living for each other rather than ourselves, living in your image and your ways.


Worship SUNDAY 18th February 2024    1st Sunday in Lent

10.30 a.m.   Led by Trevor Jamison on the theme ‘Caring for Time’.

Next Sunday, 25th February, led by Charles Jolly from Durham, on the theme ‘Caring for Creation’.

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.

Bible readingsGenesis 9: 8 -17. God establishes his Covenant with Noah, his descendants and every living creature.

Psalm 25: 1-10. In God we put our trust, looking for teaching and guidance. He is merciful and faithful.

1 Peter 3: 18 -22. Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins, through His resurrection we are baptized.

St. Mark 1: 9 -15. Jesus is baptized, tempted in the wilderness, and starts his ministry.

Reflection on the Readings

I wonder if we believe this story of Noah and the Ark? There have been many explorations and investigations over the centuries to determine the existence of the remains of the Ark, supposedly on Mount Ararat in Turkey. Even as recently as last November there were reports of remains being found in that area. To date, nothing has been proved. Is it just a story written to explain a great flood which devastated the land around that time? Possibly, however, we should note that other religious views, namely Islam, Mandaeism, Gnosticism and the Bahai faith, contain references to this event, but then we cannot know how much is simply the taking of a good story from another religion and altering it. What cannot be argued is the appearance of a rainbow when rain and sun occur together. To ancient man this would have been a strange sight, like many other heavenly wonders, which would encourage the ‘worship’ of the heavenly bodies. It just so happens that Judaism believes in the Creator God and so it is He who receives their, and our, worship.

The writer of the Psalm passage reminds us what a wonderful God we worship. How we can trust Him, He will protect us, lead us and teach us, but, if we read the words carefully, it spends most of the time seeking reassurance from God that He will do these for us. The final verse is a confident statement ‘All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful towards those who keep the demands of his covenant’, yes, the same covenant referred to earlier in the rainbow.

The Gospel reading, being St. Mark, does not waste time painting pictures. Jesus arrives from Nazareth, is baptized. Having been brought up as a faithful Jew, Jesus was required to be cleansed if he had become unclean, for any reason in their Law. But this was a special cleansing, after all, he must have been about 30 years old at this time. Was this the cleansing of a ‘Priest’ before taking on his duties? He received the commendation of God and then is sent into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. We next read that John has been imprisoned, thus curtailing his ministry, and Jesus starts His ministry.

Peter’s first letter is to the Christian Church in Northern Turkey. As leader of the Apostle’s and companion of Paul, he had the experience of Christ’s ministry and the knowledge gained by Paul’s ministry, he knows what he is writing about. It was for the sins of mankind that Christ suffered, in order to bring mankind nearer to God. Through His death, ‘he was made alive in the (Holy) Spirit’, and he went and proclaimed to the imprisoned spirits, those from long ago in the time of the Flood and Noah’s ark. Peter reminds the reader that the water of the flood cleansed the world and those in the ark were saved by God as in baptism, not by removing dirt from the body but by the pledge of a clear conscience towards God.

Where does this leave us? God has made covenants with the people over the years, the rainbow and through Christ’s resurrection. Do we accept them and leave it at that or do we respond to God with our own covenant to Him? Not with a rainbow but a resolution and promise of commitment to Him and a clear conscience towards God?

A hymn that responds to the reflection
A hymn to go with this reflection:-  Lord of all being throned afar

To Listen, Click Here

News and Notices

Lent Study meetings: Women of Holy Week

Monday 26th February 
2.00pm. at St. Andrew’s, Monkseaton
7.00pm on Zoom to Join the Meeting Click Here
Thursday 29th February
7.15p.m. at St Columba’s

They are being led by Trevor Jamison and Louise Sanders

The World Day of Prayer is taking place at St Mary’s Catholic Church on Friday 1st March at 2.00 pm, and then at Cullercoats Methodist Church at 7.30 pm. There is a poster in the Hall for more information.
Pie and Pea Lunch – Saturday 23rd March at 1.00 p.m.

Our church Social Events team (SET) are busy planning for events in 2024. The next one is a pie and pea lunch on Saturday 23rd March at 1.00 p.m., to include a game of bingo and an Easter raffle. Tickets will be on sale soon, priced at £8.00.

 Growing Church

LYCIG logoAt our Church Meeting on 4th February we explored growing as a church – in faith, service and numbers. We looked at a seven-step process that might help us do that. Our Elders have been given the task of developing ideas to bring to the next Church Meeting.
You can find a fuller report in the email version of this Weekly Update.

Image: Leading your Church into Growth.

Next Seeking Representatives for URC General Assembly, 12th-15th July

General Assembly imagesGeneral Assembly meets annually to celebrate, discuss, worship, and make decisions about the life and work of the United Reformed Church. There are sixteen places available for Northern Synod representatives. We are looking for members and ministers. Might you be one of them? You can find more information here, or you can speak to Trevor Jamison about this possibility.

Image: United Reformed Church.

Next Update – Sunday 25th February 2024

Trevor will edit the next Update. To get your information in for that date please have it with him by Tuesday 20th February.

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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