Weekly Update #194 – 10 March

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #194 – 10th March 2024
From the Minister               Workers of the World

worker bees“A woman’s work is never done.” This Sunday, our Lent worship series on things we care about focuses upon Christians Caring About Work. This Sunday is also Mothering Sunday, which makes for an interesting combination. What constitutes “women’s work” and is motherhood part of it? Well, motherhood can be part of “women’s work”, but not all women become mothers. Also, caring for children is not done only by mothers, nor only by women. It’s telling, though, that the phrase, “fathering a child” carries no sense of ongoing caring as part of it in the way that “mothering a child” does. These days, more women than ever undertake paid work, but “women’s work” usually refers to work that is not recognised financially, even though it vital for the flourishing of individuals, families and communities. And surveys show that in households where both men and women go out to work, more often it’s the women who are expected to pick up most of the work relating to the household. Christians should care about work. First, it provides people with money for the necessities of life. Importantly, second, it contributes to a person’s identity and self-esteem, and third, it is a form of service to others. We’ll do well to give due weight to these second and third aspects of the importance of work. And when we include them, we’ll find ourselves acknowledging the importance of so-called “women’s work.”


Worker Bees: Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

PrayerGod give me work till my life shall end, and life till my work is done. Amen.

(Source unknown. Found on the grave of Winifred Holtby, 1898-1935)

Worship   Sunday 10th March

10.30 a.m.     A communion service led by Trevor Jamison on Mothering Sunday. This week’s theme: ‘Caring About Work’.

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 17th March

10.30 a.m.     A service led by the Revd Jack Macadam, on the theme, ‘Caring About Spiritual Gifts’.

Bible readingsNumbers 21: 4-9           Desert snake bites and a symbol of the medical profession
Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22  ‘God healed them and delivered them from destruction’
Ephesians 2: 1-10        ‘God, who is rich in mercy … made us alive’
John 3: 14-21               ‘Moses lifted up the serpent … so the Son of Man be lifted up’

Reflection on the Readings

monument of the bronze serpentThe Hebrew people were grumbling about God and Moses. (Numbers 21: 4-9) So ‘the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.’ (21: 6) But God is also the source of health and healing, Moses is instructed to make a serpent of bronze and place it on a pole, so that when someone is bitten they can look upon it and be healed. (21: 8) The serpent on a pole is an oft-used symbol for the medical profession. Some connect this with the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient Greek god associated with healing and medicine. I suspect, though, that this incident with the serpents in the Bible has much to do with the symbol’s use by the medical profession. The passage from John’s Gospel contains the well known verse about God’s love for the world and our hope for eternal life.. (3:16) It’s worth noting, though, that this is presented in the context of what happened in the wilderness: ‘just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.’ (3: 14) Belief in Jesus who was lifted up on the cross, the Gospel says, is what heals us from our self-inflicted injuries.

Image: Monument of the Bronze Serpent Erected by Moses, by John Romano D’Orazio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

A hymn that responds to the reflection

‘Whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.’ Was that incident at least in part on Isaac Watt’s mind when he wrote the hymn, ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’?
Two different settings of his hymn:
Traditional, by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Contemporary, by Keith and Kristyn Getty

News and Notices

Lent Conversation Groups – Week 3 – Salome

Lent conversations next week: Salome (not the one who danced for Herod) is there at the cross on Good Friday, in the company of other women disciples (plus one male one).

Image: Church House Publishing / Ally Barrett

In-person meetings
St Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton: Mondays at 2 p.m. – 11, 18 March
St Columba’s URC, North Shields: Thursdays at 7.15 p.m. – 14, 21 March

Online meetings via Zoom
Mondays from 7.15 p.m. – 11, 18 March
For Zoom link, click here

The Big Plastic Count 2024 – 11-17 March

big plastic count logoFor one week in March, thousands of schools, households, community groups and businesses will be coming together to count their plastic waste. And you are invited to take part.

Almost a quarter of a million people did so in The Big Plastic Count in 2022, including members from Saint Columba’s. Together they revealed that almost two billion pieces of plastic packaging are being thrown away a week. This year you can help build even more evidence to convince UK government ministers to lead the way at the global talks that could finally phase out plastic pollution for good.

To view a short information video, click here.
To register to count and share your findings, click here.

Image: © 2024 Greenpeace.

Having your say about Council Carbon Net Zero Plan

It was good to welcome Joel Barrow from Groundwork North East and Cumbria to our most recent Sunday morning service, talking to us about recycling on North Tyneside. Joel also shared a survey from North Tyneside Council, seeking responses to their plans to move to ‘net zero’. You can fill in the survey here – replies needed by 17th March.

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 are priced at £8.00.

Next Update – Sunday 17th March 2024

Andrew Atkinson will edit the next Update. Please get your information to him by Tuesday 12th March.

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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