30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #25: Sunday 6th September 2020
Hello from John again
Each week there is uproar about quarantine needed for people returning to the UK from different countries. It makes me wonder why people are going abroad on holiday. We went out the other day for a drive to find a peaceful cup of tea so we could relax, what a hope! Towns were stowed out with visitors, café car parks were full, drinks vendors were asking stupid prices. We came home and made some tea.
Perhaps that is why people want to get away, away from the crush, the hustle and bustle and the situation here. But in life we cannot just jump on an aeroplane and leave life behind, it is there when we return. It is us who have to change, relax and be refreshed, as, hopefully, Trevor will be on his return on Monday. We don’t have to travel to relax, we should be able to find time to relax where we are, though with ‘phones and emails I wonder how! Perhaps now, more than before, we need to make a time to sit and relax with our Lord, listening for His word, sharing our worries and thoughts, ironing out all the ‘wrinkles’ in our lives so they no longer cause us distress.
Lord, we get so wound up about the problems which surround us that we lose sight of the joy in front of us. We forget about You on the Cross, for us, and all that that promises us. Although we may not spend time with you as we need to, help us again to re-order our lives to allow time for You to share life with us. Instead of bearing our burdens by ourselves we remember You said, ‘Come unto me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest’. (Matt. 11 v 28 N.I.V. but read 29 and 30 also)
Worship in the church buildings for Sunday 13th September – BOOK YOUR PLACE!
There are two Sunday services in our building, one at 10.00 a.m. and one at one at 11.15 a.m. The content of each service is the same, lasting for approximately thirty minutes. Up to thirty people are allowed at each service.
To be able to attend you must contact Alison Drew between Monday morning and midday on the Friday in the week before the service. (Contact details below.) Please note, we have been near capacity lately so if you find you cannot come, please tell Alison so that others can have your place.
Please note, the government requires that you must wear a face covering when taking part in worship in England.
One of the points which is taken from our Exodus reading is that of ‘Passover’. ‘Pass(-ing) Over’ from one existence to another. The Israelites passed from being in Egypt with all that was provided/available to them over to being in the desert reliant upon Jehovah for all that they needed. Didn’t they grumble when it wasn’t provided for them!! So much was said in March and April about this being a turning point for civilization, do we return to the ‘old’ ways after the pandemic or will we find better ways to live, it seems to me that we are rapidly heading back where we came from but it is early days yet. The same thought applies to us as Christians, in all this turmoil have we learnt more about how God wants us to live, the Psalmist says ‘Teach me Lord’, Paul tells us how we should live and Jesus says we should challenge sinfulness where we see it so we can all live according to His way.
I know this is a recurring theme in Church/Christian life, but, as we move on from strict lockdown to a partial and hesitant freedom, are we taking the opportunity to move on closer to God, relying on Him in trust and faith?
May God bless you and continue to guide all of us, the right way, His Way!
For further reflections and prayers relating to the readings, whether we can trust what people tell us, click here.
St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation –
Saturdays at 10.00 a.m.
Join the conversation on the day by clicking here.
Meeting ID: 822 8196 3292, Password: 479511
To join by telephone, dial this local rate number: 0131 460 1196
Don’t forget, you’re allowed to invite friends along to take part in the conversation!
Online Prayer Gathering on Sundays at 6.30 p.m.
Not this week, next gathering September 27th.
Bible Exploration Meetings
Bible exploration meetings are returning in September, watch for news.
And now for a few items from other sources for your interest!
MacMillan Coffee morning, a note from H.A.N.D.S. WORLD’S BIGGEST COFFEE MORNING, MACMILLAN NURSES
For over 20 years the ladies of H.A.N.D.S., together with the support of Church members and friends have raised money for the above cause, donating many thousands of pounds. For obvious reasons we are unable to hold a Coffee Morning this September but they continue to need our help.
For this reason, there will be collecting boxes in the Church vestibule for the next 2 weeks – many thanks for your support.
(Note from John:- think of that lovely baking we would have bought, and the tea, coffee and fellowship we share, please give as you would have on the day.)
URC Letters From: Ian Hardie, Treasurer of the United Reformed Church and John Piper, Deputy Treasurer
To: The members and friends of all our 1,400 URC congregations
‘THANK YOU’ for your unique and vital contribution to the life of the United Reformed Church, and for the work of the kingdom which we are able to do together in God’s name
We are living through an extraordinary and challenging time – a very anxious time for everyone; a difficult time for many; and a time of suffering and loss for some. Yet, the main purpose of this letter is to say ‘thank you’ to each of you for all that you have done for the Church in the past; for all that you continue to do even in these difficult times; and for what you will do in the future.
As we are treasurers, you will not be surprised that the focus of this letter is on finance. But we recognise that finance is only a means to the end which is our doing of God’s work together.
‘Thank you’ for your giving to your local church. Financially, this giving is the lifeblood of your own church and of the whole United Reformed Church across England, Scotland and Wales. It is this personal giving that enables your local church treasurer to pay your church’s bills. Typically, the largest of those ‘bills’ is the contribution your local church pays to the URC Ministry and Mission Fund. This Fund meets the central costs of the United Reformed Church. The total budget is around £20 million and is approved each year by Mission Council. Over 80% of this money is spent on ministers and church related community workers – their training, stipends and pensions. But the other 20% also achieves an enormous amount on behalf of us all. General Assembly 2020 was severely constrained because of the Covid-19 lockdown, but the reports written for General Assembly are available on the URC website, and they paint pictures of all the work that has been done in our name over the last two years and much of that work is ongoing.
‘Thank you’ for your giving and the giving of your local church last year. In 2019, over £19.4 million was given by local churches and synods to the Ministry and Mission Fund. The total contributions from local churches reduced very slightly but the average giving per member has, once again and remarkably, gone up by more than inflation.
‘Thank you’ for your continued giving this year. We fully understand that circumstances this year are difficult. Most local churches have been unable to meet for over five months. We have not had the usual opportunities to make our offerings for the work of the Church. But most of the costs of the local church and of the denomination have not reduced and some have increased as a consequence of the pandemic. We are also aware that some have lost income or work this year and are therefore in great financial difficulty. But there are others on fixed incomes who are actually better off than they might otherwise have been. So, please continue to give what you can in whatever way you can – or save it up until you can hand it over.
Any giving of ours is a response to the amazing generosity and love of God which we see in Jesus. Nevertheless, it is important for us to say ‘thank you’ to each and all of you.
If you have any questions or comments arising from this letter then please speak to your church treasurer, who has been provided with more detailed information. If they are not able to help directly then they can get in touch with the finance team at Church House.
Yours in Christ, Ian and John
Keeping in Touch – Your contact details
You can contact your designated Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.